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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 11 July, 2020
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Madison Square Garden will host New York's first UFC event this year as MMA is legalised

The sport’s premier franchise is set to visit the famous venue on 12 November.

Cotto Margarito Boxing The Garden has hosted boxing events in the past. Source: AP/Press Association Images

MMA MAKES ITS New York debut at Madison Square Garden on 12 November after the state governor ended a two-decade ban, in a major boost to the sport.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalising MMA in America’s biggest city, declaring in a press conference at the famed fighting venue on Thursday: “It was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.”

MMA has been outlawed in New York State since 1997 but in March, the state assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill legalising it — the last state in the US to do so.

“It means a lot because historically people that were against the sport, the first they would bring up was, ‘Well, you’re not even legal in New York,’” Lorenzo Fertitta, who runs the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), said. “Obviously, it takes that argument away.

“New York, being the most important city in the world in many ways, particularly with the media, I think it will change perception.”

MMA is under renewed scrutiny after Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho’s death in Dublin, but Fertitta warned the knockers to hold fire, saying: “Just judge us after you get a chance to experience the sport.

“It’s going to be done the right way, in a safe manner, regulated by the New York Athletic Commission.”

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