Mixed Martial Arts off to big start in New York ahead of big fight

Johnny Hendricks, Matt Brown

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the big debut of UFC 205 coming up Saturday, professional mixed martial arts is expected to make a statement in New York State.

The upcoming event at the Madison Square Garden is expected to be the true coming-out party for the UFC.

The big event was announced two months after lawmakers ended its status as the only state to ban the popular growing sport back in April.

“It should have been legal in New York 15 years ago,” said Scott Coker, president of promoter Bellator MMA, which is hoping to hold an event next year at the Garden or at Barclays Center. “We’re going to bring a big, big show, probably the biggest card in the history of Bellator.”

With its prominent place in boxing history, Madison Square Garden is a natural for mixed martial arts. Joel Fisher, an executive vice president at the Garden, said “it’s only fitting that the first UFC fight in New York state is taking place at ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,'” one of its nicknames.

The addition to mixed martial arts in New York looks to boost the economy and bring in an estimated $137 million in annual economic activity.

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