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UFC in New York presents Economic Impact Study to push for sanctioning in the 'Empire State'

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Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wants to bring mixed martial arts (MMA) to New York, one of the few remaining (and overly stubborn) states where cage fighting remains outlawed.

Governor David Paterson proposed MMA legislation in early 2010 to help reduce the state's $9 billion deficit; however, Assembly Democrats stripped approval from the budget bill shortly thereafter.

And it wasn't the first time MMA came oh-so-close to becoming legal.

It appeared to be on the verge of sanctioning back in 2008, but some eleventh-hour concerns from uneducated members of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development scuttled its passage.

Another session on the matter began in the state capital on Jan. 7, 2009, and was voted on later in the year, indicating that the pendulum was perhaps finally swinging in a positive direction.

Unfortunately, progress was stymied once again.

UFC President Dana White, along with UFC Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner and Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, have been working on this deal for months and years, ratcheting up the economic rhetoric and financial success of its mixed martial events to influence voters who may be on the fence.

In fact, the organization hired a high-powered public relations and lobbying firm to ensure that its messages were heard and that common misconceptions were clarified among key influencers and the public-at-large.

In particular, the efforts were targeted at detractors like Democratic Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who referred to the sport of MMA as a "glorification of brutality and violence" and continues to do everything in his power to sabotage the process.

White and Fertitta today stormed Madison Square Garden (MSG) with New York assemblyman Dean Murray and MSG Sports president Scott O'Neil to present an independent economic impact study indicating the "Empire State" would generate about $16 million from the UFC alone based on just two pay-per-view (PPV) events per year, split between "The World's Most Famous Arena" and Buffalo's HSBC Arena.

And that doesn't include the jobs and additional income from regional or independent promotions also throwing their hat into the New York fight scene.

Put simply, money talks … and the UFC has the numbers to back it up. But is anybody listening? The jury is still out but like they say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

Stay tuned.