Since it’s that time of the year when the struggle to get the sport sanctioned in New York becomes a recurring news item, it makes sense to have a weekly update post. So here it is! This week, Bellator went on record with their intentions when it comes to MMA in New York, plus there was an amateur MMA event that almost wasn’t, and another fight show looming for this weekend.
• On Tuesday, the folks at Bellator put this statement from Bjorn Rebney on their site:
“Bellator MMA, with our partners at Spike TV, will look to promote and produce four events per year, each and every year in New York when professional mixed martial arts events are finally sanctioned by the State. MMA is the world’s fastest growing, most exciting sport, and the incredible athleticism displayed by its athletes is second to none. We are focused on displaying this great sport and its athletes to the legions of MMA fans in New York, while helping generate millions of dollars of revenue through hotel rooms, local market employment, meals and tax revenue for New York’s state and local businesses.”
There are two things to take away from this. The first is that this is a direct response to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking for some concrete promises from promoters if New York lifts the ban.
The second takeaway from the statement above is that Bellator might not try to explore the recently acknowledged third-party sanctioning option, and will instead wait for “when professional mixed martial arts events are finally sanctioned by the State.” Either way, Bellator is clearly all-in when the time comes to put on shows.
• Michael Kulp had a really tough time putting on Elite Cage Challenge II. The original venue was supposed to be a Boys and Girls Club in Mount Kisco (a town about an hour north of New York City), but the executive director of that particular location balked at the idea that “human cockfighting” would be taking place there and tore up the contract.
Then Kulp found a new location at a nearby privately-owned sports club, but at the weigh-ins the day before the event was to happen, the club informed him that they too had changed their minds. The reason? The Alcohol Beverage Control law (section 106, subsection 6-c, paragraphs (a), (b) and (c)) prohibiting both amateur and professional MMA events from happening at venues with liquor licenses. Thankfully, Kulp found yet another health club willing to host the event, and the cage was literally set up in the hour before the first fight.
Here are some of the fruits of Kulp’s labor:
• All systems seem to be a “go” for the Kings of New York amateur MMA show scheduled for Saturday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan. Thanks to the aforementioned liquor statute, booze may or may not be sold (their attorneys are working that out right now), but there are over a dozen fights scheduled, and hey, you can’t beat the press they’ve gotten. Yours truly will be cageside for the action, so expect an event report next week.