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UFC in New York: no longer below the belt | NYU's Daily Student Newspaper

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UFC in New York: no longer below the belt by Ji Hyun Park Published February 2, 2010 Email


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"The first rule of fight club is: You do not talk about fight club," Brad Pitt's character Tyler Durden uttered in the acclaimed 1999 film "Fight Club." But with Governor David Paterson's new proposal to legalize the Ultimate Fighting Championship in New York, street fighters may no longer have to take their brawls underground. Paterson made the announcement as part of his 2009-'10 budget plan and said revenues made from events could help close New York's $9 billion budget gap. A 2008 study by the UFC estimated the state could earn $11.5 million from one event in New York City alone, and $5.2 million for the same event in Buffalo. "MMA is a safe and regulated sport that deserves to be legalized," UFC spokeswoman Jennifer Wenk said. "The fact is that UFC events sell out arenas coast-to-coast and would do the same in New York. The tax revenue and economic impact of those events would benefit all New Yorkers." Despite the estimated revenues, many New Yorkers oppose the proposition. According to a recent Marist poll, 68 percent of the state opposes legalizing UFC. Assemblyman Robert Reilly, a chief opponent of the bill, argues that the sport is morally objectionable and would not be a good financial move for the state. "It would actually cost the state more money than doing a reform of taxes." NYU students have expressed a similarly divided point of view.


"Knowing that it'll now be in NYC, well, it's scary to think about from the standpoint of


parents and school administrators," Gallatin sophomore Jillian Bray said. "Sure, parents should monitor what their children see and do on TV, but it is impossible to keep them from seeing these sorts of things and drawing their own conclusions." Allan Zhang, a junior in the Silver School of Social Work, disagrees. "Why not?" he asked. "It should be legalized. Besides the fact that it'll help bring revenue, it already has a huge fan following in the city." Michael Cramer, a professor at the Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management agrees that holding a UFC event in New York may create some revenue, but added that "it will be a tiny piece in the overall reduction of the budget deficit." Cramer also addressed the safety issues: "We would have to assume that if legal, they are adequately supervised and that material harm would be curtailed as much as possible." Reilly fiercely opposes the bill and argues that bringing the UFC to the city will only produce more violence.[7/3/11 2:41:52 AM]



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UFC in New York: no longer below the belt | NYU's Daily Student Newspaper

"Violence begets violence," he said. "It's only going to harm all those involved." Ji Hyun Park is a contributing writer.

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A 2008 study by the UFC estimated the state could earn $11.5 million from one event in New York City alone, and $5.2 million for the same ev...