Score one more for the dirty, rotten scumbags.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was targeting a date of November 2013 for its 20th anniversary supershow at Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York City. In addition, the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion already had a fight card planned for "the world's most famous arena."
What they didn't have, was legislation.
Despite UFC President Dana White's master plan, the sport of MMA is still banned in the "Empire State," thanks to the Las Vegas Culinary Union (find out what their beef is here), who've made a career out of cock-blocking the UFC when it comes to Manhattan cage fighting.
White vents at the UFC on FOX 7 pre-fight media scrum:
"I'm just not as optimistic as I was. Everybody wants [MMA in New York] except the culinary union. Let me tell you this: Every time we try to move forward and progress in New York, the Las Vegas Culinary Union starts hammering everybody with letters, and they're working the politicians and everything else. I have a question for you. In Las Vegas, we put on however many fights a year. How come they're not writing any letters in Las Vegas? They're from Las Vegas. And if the UFC is this horrible thing that they write about, why aren't they sending letters to the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, the Nevada State Athletic Commission - and the list goes on an on? Why are they only writing letters to New York? Does that make any sense to anybody? So what's good for Vegas, Vegas can reap the benefits of all the economic impact we have, all the good things that happen when a UFC event comes in to Vegas, but New York can't? Why is that? Dirty, rotten scumbags. There's going to be a 20-year anniversary. It's just not going to be at MSG. But wherever we go for the 20-year, it's going to be big."
Ever since the state of New York imposed a ban on MMA in 1997, ZUFFA officials have been trying to somehow reverse it to hold an event in the "city that never sleeps." In fact, for the last four years, White, the Fertittas and several fighters on the UFC roster have been lobbying for the ban to be lifted.
The ban remains intact, despite the positive economic impact that a live MMA event would have on the state and surrounding areas. Until then, New York fight fans will have to travel across the bridge to places like neighboring New Jersey to get their UFC fix.
See you at UFC 159.