I have brought to your attention in recent months the mission of UFC Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner - get MMA sanctioned in more states and cities in the world. As the former Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Ratner is perfect for the job. He and Dana White have been instrumental in expanding the sport's acceptance and exposure in political and consumer circles. But they have continued to hit a wall with the Big Apple, New York City. In an interview given by Ratner back in February of 2008, he shared that, "We're hoping for New York and Massachusetts by the end of the year and I think it's very, very doable..."
Dana White has made it clear that his 2010 professional resolution is to get MMA regulated in New York and Ontario. In an interview I had with him in 2007, White made it clear that his dream was to have UFC at Madison Square Gardens. And although he has accomplished so much for the sport since then, White is fixated on making it to the 'Big Time.'
"Once I get New York and Ontario done, we're opening up the rest of the world," White says. UFC will break some global ground in 2010 whether it gains NYC or not. Although it will offer a card on the biggest sports weekend of the year, Superbowl Weekend in Las Vegas, Ratner and White will accomplish a global impact for its fan base with or without NYC. UFC will be in Australia and Abu Dhabi this year. Despite this international expansion for UFC as an organization, I am sure White and Ratner will feel irked as they exit 14 off the New Jersey Turnpike for the March 27th card being head lined by George St.Pierre in Newark- being so close to the bright lights of Broadway and the synergy of Madison Square Garden.
The UFC is not the only community that has invested time into the endeavor of getting MMA legalized in NYC. Bobby Razak has produced a 20-minute documentary that will make its web premier Thursday, January 7th, 2010 that explores the difficulty in legalizing the sport. The goal of the film is to increase awareness in these surprisingly conversative, yet critical marketplaces that the sport is not an underground no holds bar fighting platform. Razak hopes that it will convince NYC and Ontario legislature.
To View trailer of the Film on Legalizing MMA click below.
New York will have its first round of voting by the State Assembly at the end of this month. The bill to sanction MMA actually ran out of time to be considered or passed last year. So now it is on the agenda to be presented and considered and suffer through the legislative process with the Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee which is chaired by Steve Englebright. Although there are strong non-supporters of the MMA bill like Assemblyman Bob Reilly, there is still a lot of hope since so much positive information has educated the committe. But it is a long process, once it makes it past the Parks, Tourism and Sport's Development peeps, it then has to survive the Codes Committee, then the Ways and Means Committee and then the General Assembly. Whoosh - at least Chicago the Greatest American City has Regulation, too bad NYC is always behind us.