The UFC has officially scheduled an event at historic Madison Square Garden on April 23, 2016 despite the sport of MMA still being banned in the state of New York.
Part of the planning of the event comes with the UFC seeking an injunction against New York state officials for an ‘unconstitutional’ law that officials say is currently preventing mixed martial arts from taking place in the state.
“We believe fight fans have waited long enough to experience live UFC events in the state of New York and we are thrilled to announce our first event at Madison Square Garden,” UFC Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein said. “Professional MMA is legal around of the world and it is about time New York followed suit.”
A bill to legalize has been presented before the New York state government on several occasions but despite passing in the state senate on for the past six years, the vote required to make it law has failed to find its way to the state assembly floor year after year.
Most recently in 2015, the bill failed to make it to the assembly floor once again despite efforts from several lawmakers as well as receiving huge support from UFC fighters who live and train in New York and want nothing more than to fight in their home state.
UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has been one of the most vocal athletes on the roster to speak out against the ban while hoping to one day fight close to home.
The UFC has already filed a claim in New York claiming that the ban on the sport is unconstitutional, but this latest move to schedule an event in the state is a bold step towards taking a stand against government regulators who have still failed to legalize MMA.
UFC officials stated that later this week they will reach out to a Federal judge to ask for a preliminary injunction against New York state officials and the ban on MMA. If the injunction isn’t granted, the event scheduled at Madison Square Garden will not move forward.