New York was the last state to legalize mixed martial arts (MMA) and as you might expect, has spent the past 18 months running to catch up in terms of protocol when it comes to regulating live events.
To say there have been some growing pains would be an understatement. Not only did we have the Daniel Cormier towel incident, there was the Chris Weidman knee fiasco, as well as the blatant fouls in the Holly Holm fight back in February.
New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) executive director Kim Sumbler recognizes those missteps and has not deferred responsibility, instead assuring pessimistic fight fans that her team is committed to being on par with states like California and Nevada.
An excerpt from her conversation with MMA Fighting:
“It was a trial by fire. We got thrown into the pit of snakes. We had the spotlight on us. We had every eyeball in this whole community on us. We were the last state to regulate [MMA]. Every eyeball was on us, waiting for us to slip up. Yeah, that was really hard to take. But again, I have to go back and say, they weren’t wrong. A lot of these criticisms — the people who criticized us — weren’t wrong. So there’s nothing wrong with speaking your mind.
I believe that every criticism is an opportunity for us to review what we’re doing. If we’re not doing something or we could be doing something different that makes it better, then yeah. You know what, I think criticisms, as much as they hurt sometimes and as much as it’s a slap in the face, I think criticisms are a great opportunity for us to learn from. Those fans who want to hate New York, I want to make them fans of New York.”
If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
NYSAC will have what could be its biggest test to date when the UFC 217 pay-per-view (PPV) event (details), featuring the highly-anticipated return of former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, comes to Madison Square Garden in New York City this Saturday night (Nov. 4, 2017) in the heart of Manhattan.
The same place that had this happen.
It will be interesting to see if NYSAC can rise to the occasion this weekend in the “Big Apple,” as the promotion will find it less appealing to hold live events in New York if every fight card is riddled with controversy.
Time will tell.