Guaranteed: UFC will be coming to Buffalo

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 14:05:42-04

Get ready mixed martial arts fans.

A spokesperson from the UFC told 7 Eyewitness News Wednesday "UFC will be coming to Buffalo. Guaranteed."

It's what fans and even some local officials have been waiting for.

"Thousands of people are going to be able to come into the First Niagara Center ....bringing in an economic impact in the millions of dollars and making Buffalo the epicenter of the entire world for any given night," New York State Senator Tim Kennedy said.

Kennedy has pushed for the legalization of MMA for several years. Those opposed cited how dangerous the sport can be to not only professional but amateurs.

Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Famer A.J. Verel says those injuries can be avoided by looking at other sports.

"I don't think we should reinvent the wheel. There's certainly things we are well aware of that have occurred in other sports that we need to make sure doesn't happen in this sport as it moves forward."

Verel says Western New York has the largest concentration of martial arts school in the entire state, something the UFC can take advantage of financially.

Not everyone however is sold. Some local officials believe the sport is combative and dangerous, but Governor Andrew Cuomo is on board.

"We met with the owners of mixed martial arts and they're committed to doing shows in New York and doing shows in areas that would bring people from out of state into (the) state."

Cuomo also says he's spoken with officials from UFC who say they're working to make the sport safer.

The UFC says they'll hold four events in New York every year for the next three years.

There's no timetable on when those events could start but it could happen as soon as later this year.