Fertitta: New York Won’t Make Or Break The UFC
Fifteen years ago, the UFC was in dire straits. Only a handful of states would allow them to set up shop within their borders, and when they did get to put on an event, live crowds of two to three thousand people would be considered a success. One of the UFC shows was actually held in a parking lot, with a tent top and backdrops to conceal their “venue”.
My, how times have changed.
The UFC is now a global entity, with footholds all over Europe, Brazil, Australia, Asia, Canada, Mexico… and here in the good ol’ US of A, the UFC is sanctioned in almost every single state. Gone are the days of protests, filled with people calling the UFC a “human cock-fight” or a “blood sport”. Everyone seems to have come around.
Everyone, that is, except for the governing bodies of the Big Apple. And although the UFC is attempting to change their perspective on MMA, while educating them on the enormous economic impact they have had on the cities which are wise enough to host their events, the Fertittas know they will be just fine, with or without New York:
“The state of New York isn’t going to make or break our business,” Fertitta said. “We do business all over the world. We’re doing most major capitals in Europe, South America, Asia. Most big cities are bidding for us to come here because they know the economic impact we have on the cities. But at the end of the day, it just comes down to principle.”
It would be impossible to deny how much it would mean to Dana White and company, if they were able to host an event in New York City. But make no mistake about it: the UFC does not NEED New York City. It simply doesn’t. Sure, they would love to put on a show in one of the meccas of combat sports, Madison Square Garden. But the fact of the matter is this – whether or not they ever step foot inside the Garden, the UFC will be just fine. Something that UFC President Dana white is quick to remind us of:
“I could[n't] care less,” he said. “New York not opening doesn’t slow down our business or affect us in any way shape or form. It affects the state of New York — money, jobs, all the things that politicians are supposed to be bringing to New York, they’re not.”