UFC targeting 20th anniversary show at MSG, NY
LAS VEGAS – If UFC President Dana White's latest prediction if correct, the UFC's 20th anniversary show will take place at New York's famed Madison Square Garden.
Following Saturday night's UFC 155 post-event press conference, White revealed the company has gone so far as to reserve a November 2013 date at the Garden in hopes that MMA will finally be legalized in New York in time for the event.
"I plan on being in New York in 2013 for the UFC's 20th anniversary," White said. "That's my goal, so we'll see."
New York state has long been one of the holy grails in the movement to legalize MMA across the country, but efforts to legalize the sport in the state have consistently stalled out in the New York State Assembly.
Earlier this year, a bill to regulate the sport passed the New York Senate before New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver declined to bring a bill to the floor.
Following that decision, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner declared the Speaker's decision as "un-American."
"I feel 150 percent if we had a vote on the floor of the Assembly, we would win," Ratner told the New York Daily News. "Not to get a vote is un-American."
White declined to discuss precisely why felt confident enough to take the step of reserving a date at the venue other than citing his company's continued efforts at regulation.
"We're just working hard on it like we always were," White said.
White and the UFC, of course, will continue to face stern opposition from Las Vegas' Culinary Workers Union 226 and its parent organization UNITE HERE. UFC co-owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta also own Las Vegas' Station Casinos chain, the largest non-union hotel group in Sin City. In an effort to force the chain to unionize, Culinary Workers Union reps have long rallied against the UFC, especially in the promotion's efforts to move into New York.
"It's all dirty union s---," White said. "Dirty, rotten, scummy union. The Culinary Union of Las Vegas. UNITE. Scumbags. That's what's stopping it."
The UFC's first event was held Nov. 12, 1993. White declined to name specifically what date he was targeting for the proposed 20th anniversary show, but he seemed optimistic it was not simply a pipe dream.
"I wouldn't say it if I didn't think it was (realistic)," White said. "That's our goal is to get in there in November for the 20th anniversary at Madison Square Garden."
White said he's even got a proposed headlining matchup penciled in.
"We've got a card planned," White said with a smile. "We've got some stuff planned. We've just got to get past these scumbag gangster union guys and see what happens."
So those planned matches - Jones vs. Silva one of them?