UFC middleweight king Chris Weidman – who made short work of his latest challenger, Vitor Belfort, at Saturday’s UFC 187 – has made no secret of the fact that he wants to fight at Madison Square Garden in New York this year. As per MMAJunkie:
Weidman isn’t so much concerned with his next opponent as he is his next fight location.
“I tell you what: I’m not missing the Madison Square Garden fight; that’s for sure,” the 30-year-old New Yorker said. “That’s all I really care about. People are asking about ‘Jacare’ or Rockhold. It honestly doesn’t matter. I want to fight either one of them, but in Madison Square Garden.
“That’s the dream, so that’s really the focus.”
Okay, so we know Weidman wants it, and we know that to fight in New York, the 18-year-old ban on pro MMA here must be lifted. What are the chances of that happening?
The chances are still fairly good. This is what we know:
- Since the State Senate passed their half of the bill months ago, we’re waiting on the Assembly to do their part. The legislative session ends on June 17, which means there are 12 “working” days the Assembly to get the job done.
- The last vote count had us just five votes show of the number needed to pass the bill. I’m not going to get into the specifics of who among the Assembly is for and against and why we have to get to a certain number (which is 76), but I will say that we are closer than we’ve ever been.
- We’re in the home stretch for the 2015 session, and our side has made it publicly known that they’re willing to add some things to the bill to make it more palatable – things like a fund for injured fighters and whatnot. This is a delicate balancing act though, as the opposition would love to add too many things to the bill so the law, while making pro MMA legal, would make it too much of a hassle for anyone to actually do a show. Notice how Connecticut legalized MMA a while back and yet no one has done any shows there (they’ve only occurred on the Indian Reservations)? Poison pills were inserted into that law at the last hour.
Politics suck, but people in New York are working to get this done, so Weidman may very well be getting his wish and fighting at MSG in December. Wouldn’t that be awesome?