Will UFC Kill Boxing in New York?
The new laws permitting mixed martial arts events in New York state were heralded as a long time coming, but will they hurt other combat sports?
That's the question on the mind of those in the world of boxing and the people who cover and follow it. Specifically, George Willis of the New York Post reports that there is a serious problem now facing boxing promoters, and it has nothing to do with whether or not boxing is currently being outshone by mixed martial arts with mainstream audiences.
Instead, it pertains to the economics of it:
A bill passed by the State Assembly in April legalized mixed martial arts in New York and also raised insurance rates for all combat sports from $10,000 to $50,000 for general medical coverage and added a $1 million insurance policy in case a fighter suffers a traumatic brain injury.
According to Willis, this has the potential to drive promoters of boxing out of the state. This isn't an entirely unreasonable idea; boxing, while I am a huge fan, remains a niche sport and does not command the kind of box office and television numbers that it did during various peaks. Compounded by the fact that promoters are... well... very money-conscious, even by typical businessman standards, this means that the current crop of shows that have been happening in New York will start to dissipate.
That would be a shame because it's been a very good stretch of time to be a boxing fan in New York. The Barclays Center is repeatedly putting on major events, including a heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Artur Szpilka in January.
I don't know how much this new law is going to affect boxing in New York, but I've got my fingers crossed that it doesn't prevent the state from holding marquee matchups at Barclays and the Garden.