The UFC’s bold plan to hold a pay-per-view event in New York City on April 23rd has come to an end after a judge ruled to deny a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the promotion to circumnavigate a state-wide ban on the sport.
Judge Kimba Wood stated that it was unconstitutional for a federal court to rule on a state law case until that state court had a chance to rule on the matter for themselves.
That decision leaves the company with no choice but to put their plans for an NYC event in April on hold as there simply isn’t enough time left before fight night to continue their legal battle.
The original plan had been for UFC 198 to take place at Madison Square Garden with a light-heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones believed to have been the bout most likely to front what would have been an historic MMA event and a major money-spinner for the city.
Instead the event will no doubt be switched to a different city in another state, though it’s not clear which one it’ll be at this stage.
“We are disappointed by the District Court’s denial of our motion for a preliminary injunction and its effort to redirect the litigation to the state courts,” UFC COO Lawrence Epstein stated after the ruling. “One thing, and one thing only, prevents Madison Square Garden and other New York venues from hosting UFC events that are allowed in the other 49 States in the Union — that is the New York law that we believe violates the federal Constitution. Today’s decision, while disappointing, only underscores the importance of UFC’s pending appeal to the Second Circuit. UFC will evaluate this decision with an eye to pursuing every effective avenue to bring New Yorkers the same live events available to spectators throughout the United States.
“We are very hopeful that the New York State legislature, either through a stand alone bill or via the Governor’s budget, will approve MMA in NY as soon as possible.”
In fact, indicating their willingness to continue the fight to bring MMA to New York, Epstein says that they’ll now attempt to book another UFC event for November in the state.
“The fact that we are prevented from doing an event in New York is clear evidence of irreparable harm,” Epstein said. “The timing of the event is secondary. We are now tentatively looking at a new date at Madison Square Garden in November.”