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UFC coming to Boston? Not so fast...

Folks in "Beantown" hoping to get a glimpse of the Zuffa Zealots in November of 2009 are unfortunately going to have to wait just a little bit longer as a bill to legalize mixed martial arts in Massachusetts crawls its way through the legislative process at a snail's pace.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials once again stormed Massachusetts earlier this year, attempting to convince lawmakers in the "Bay State" that mixed martial arts regulation is good for them and the state economy … to the tune of $12.3 million in just one weekend.

The latest dog and pony show appeared to have done the trick during a State House hearing held back in April. In fact, if all goes according to plan, the promotion is hoping to stage a major pay-per-view (PPV) event from the TD Banknorth Garden -- though it likely won't be until 2010.

Here’s a snip from Matthew Moran, Chief of Staff for Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole), the chairman of the public safety and homeland security committee, via the Boston Herald:

"We’re hoping for action on the bill in short order, maybe in the next week or two, I don’t know. We’re not exactly positive about a timetable but we do feel good about moving it by the Senate Ways and Means [where it is now.] The Legislature moves at a pace dictated by itself. I know folks on the committee were very receptive to not only the economic impact [which will bring in an estimated $12 million in revenue] but the timeliness of moving the bill forward, and I know they reached out to their particular members. We’re anticipating movement soon.’’

Number one lightweight contender and local-area fighter, Kenny Florian, UFC vice president of regulation and governmental affairs Marc Ratner, as well as general counsels Lawrence Epstein and Michael Mersch, comprised the UFC contingent charged with making the case for regulation.

According to the Ratner, they "haven’t seen any opposition so far. There’s nothing out there that makes us think there are any problems. We’ve been to Boston several times and met with different legislators and we’re very encouraged. To me, it’s not a matter of if but when."

It can’t come soon enough — Florian, Marcus Davis, Jorge Rivera and Gabriel Gonzaga are just a few of the talented fighters who hail from the region and would more than likely be featured on a New England card.

And remember that company president Dana White is from "Southie," which means that he would certainly pull out all the stops to ensure that his first-ever trip home would be unforgettable.

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