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UFC New York Press Conference This Thursday To Push MMA Legalisation

Madison Square Garden, AP
Madison Square Garden, AP

According to Mike Chiappetta of MMA Fighting, UFC are looking to announce their formal intent to bring an event to New York:

It looks like the UFC has its New Year's Resolution.

Just a few days into 2011, the Nevada-based promotion will formally announce its intent to bring mixed martial arts to New York as soon as possible during a Thursday press conference at Madison Square Garden.

The press conference, which will take place at the world-famous MSG arena, will be attended by UFC president Dana White, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, and former light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans, along with MSG executives.

The UFC is also expected to release an economic impact study which details the benefits of regulating MMA in the Empire State.

New York is just one of six states that does not currently regulate the sport.

If this sounds familiar, it's because it is. The UFC has tried to appeal to New York legislature's wallets in the past with a similar economic impact study a couple of years ago and I'm still not convinced this is the best strategy to take. S.C. Michaelson rightly pointed out last year that a UFC event improving the local economy of a city it visits in the short term is not a good reason to regulate the combat sport. This is actually an argument New York Assemblyman and MMA's most vocal opponent Bob Reilly has made - and he's right.

Improving the local economy in the short term is a perk and not a reason to legalise MMA in New York. I'm definitely Pro-MMA in New York, but we can't lose sight of the reasons MMA should be legalised and sanctioned everywhere and that is of safety. Safety for the fighters, safety for the public, safety for everyone involved.

Essentially the argument should be made that by having MMA fall under prohibition, New York is inviting the sport to go underground and potentially into the hands of organised crime. By not legalising and regulating MMA New York could be producing 21st Century Al Capones who will take advantage of the sport's National popularity and be opportunistic in these harsh economic times. By not legalising MMA New York could very well be putting lives of both fighters and fans at risk. Drug and medical testing, fair matchmaking, public security and liability insurance and various entertainment and consumer licenses can only be enforced through legalisation and regulation.

Hopefully at this Thursday's press conference in Madison Square Garden, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta don't forget to mention this among claims of how legitimate the sport is and how much money can be made.

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