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Race for New York! Bellator, like UFC, sets sights on a possible show at MSG

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

New York, New York. It's the city so nice that they named it twice.

Actually, "Big Apple" residents usually get an (unfair) rap for being nasty and inconsiderate, but no one has been more rude in their opposition to mixed martial arts (MMA) in the state as former Speaker of the New York Assembly (in Albany) Sheldon Silver.

But, when Silver was cuffed and stuffed on corruption charges earlier this year, the doors to regulation in "Empire State" flung wide open. And every MMA promotion that has been shut out of running shows in the state -- and in particular inside Madison Square Garden -- is now chomping at the bit to get out of the gate with a show first.

Indeed, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is not the only game in town -- Bellator MMA is hot and heavy, too, according to company president Scott Coker.

"I would absolutely put an event on in New York [if the bill gets passed]. The way things are, we've just had to hold shows elsewhere."

Of course, New York's assembly has to finally pass that bill to legalize MMA in the state first, something Dana White and Co. have spent millions to make happen unsuccessfully to date.

Coker, though, like UFC and White, believes #TheTimeIsNow:

"Let's go back to super-fights. Let's put on fights that are great live or on television. We built a number of stars in Strikeforce,and we're doing that in Bellator now, too."

Could we see one more Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz fight at MSG before Chris Weidman vs. Jon Jones? Crazier things have happened.

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