New York lifted its ban on MMA back in April, and now the UFC is slated to come to Madison Square Garden in November. But the big question looming above everyone’s head is: Will the New York State Athletic Commission be ready to oversee MMA events?
Marc Raimondi digs deep on this very subject, and the picture painted isn’t a pretty one.
Behind the scenes, though, there is uncertainty. Out of the regular gaze of fans, the much-maligned New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) will try to put its best foot forward after recent years filled with scandal, lawsuits, and damning investigations.
When MMA was legalized by New York in April, it was met with applause from those in the know. But those cheers have been put on hold for now.
A $1 million brain injury insurance policy requirement — per fighter — for pro boxing and MMA promoters has undercut all but the biggest shows. And questions still remain about the competence of a commission that is being sued by boxer Magomed Abdusalamov, left disabled with considerable neurological deficits after alleged NYSAC negligence following a 2013 bout.
In July, a state investigation determined that the NYSAC “failed to carry out its responsibilities prior to, during and after” Abdusalamov’s bout.
It’s worth noting that the UFC has its own sanctioning apparatus in place to assist athletic commissions, so the real test for the New York commission is the first non-UFC show it oversees. Currently, that will be the World Series of Fighting’s New Years Eve event. Will the NYSAC screw that one up?