Did Madison Square Garden Double-Book GGG and the UFC For April?

January 11, 2016

-OpeningRound Staff

According to VICE Sports, New York City’s Madison Square Garden may be in a bit of a pickle come springtime. Tom Loeffler, the promoter of the fearsome WBA, IBF, and IBO middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, reportedly put a hold on the arena for April 23rd. Golovkin, who just sold out the arena last October during his 8 round demolition of David Lemieux, is hoping to fight a unification bout with the new WBO middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders or IBF mandatory challenger Tureano Johnson before he potentially fights WBC champion Canelo Alvarez in a fall megafight. However, MSG may be in a bit of a bind. The UFC has apparently booked the arena for Jon “Bones” Jones’ return on UFC 198 the same exact date. But how is this possible if the UFC is banned in New York state?

New York state is currently the only state that does not sanction professional MMA contests, however, the UFC has seemingly found a loophole to sanction bouts. According to New York state’s “combative sports law,” the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) is allowed to hold contests, and the UFC could potentially sanction bouts in alliance with them. Per Vice, this is what the situation is looking like:

“While state officials have stated that they will not allow the WKA to sanction mixed-martial-arts bouts, the UFC has argued that stance as unfair since the state has allowed them to work alongside Glory and K-1 in the past, despite those organizations’ feature of multi-disciplined competition. Thus, the UFC is running on that argument since it is a licensed WKA promoter, and deepened that stance by reportedly signing a contract with the MSG to hold the date in April.”


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Per Bloody Elbow, the VP of Public Relations for the UFC Dave Sholler also confirmed that the UFC has “first hold” on MSG. This means that if either professional MMA is legalized in New York in the coming months or if they’re able to use the WKA loophole, then the GGG fight will have to find another venue. A rep for MSG also confirmed this to Vice, and according to the rep, it’s common practice for a venue to have more than one “hold” on a date in the case one event falls through due to unforeseen circumstances. If either the WKA loophole falls through or if professional MMA isn’t legalized in NY by April, then it will most likely move to the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

Regardless of what happens, MSG has found themselves in a precarious situation and it should be very very interesting to see how this pans out.

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