BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is returning to the Queen City after a 20 year battle.
About a year ago New York lifted the ban on mixed martial arts (MMA), joining 49 other states that allow and regulate the sport.
“We’ve been waiting for this for so long, I think 20 plus years now that they haven’t been in Buffalo so it’s a pretty big deal,” said Sean Felton, local pro MMA fighter.
Saturday millions will be able to catch the UFC 210 fight at Key Bank Center on pay-per-view.
Local MMA professional fighters say this event brings motivation.
“It helps motivate the guys and see a real opportunity for them to compete at the big stage in their hometown,” said Eric Herbert, MMA coach at WNY MMA.
“This is huge for fighters such as myself who are pros and up and coming amateurs because we might get that call one day that the UFC is looking for talent,” said Felton.
Visit Buffalo Niagara says hotels are filling up for the sold out fight and restaurants and bars will also see a big boost for the weekend.
“Because the event goes until about two o’clock in the morning, that will play very well into our night life scene for people since our bars are open until four o’clock in the morning,” said Patrick Kaler, President/CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara.
More than 17,000 people will fill the arena including some who say their turn is next.
“A bunch of us as trainers and coaches and fighters are going to go there and enjoy it and just take it in and hopefully imagine ourselves being there one day soon,” said Herbert.
This event will mark the third pay-per-view held in New York in the past six months.
The event starts at 6 pm Saturday.