UFC making first Buffalo appearance in two decades

Jan 16, 2017

Buffalo will be the site for Ultimate Fighting Championship 210 on April 8, as the Octagon sets down at KeyBank Center for the promotion's first visit here since 1995.

No fights have been announced for the card, but it also will air live on Pay-Per-View.

Ken Shamrock against Oleg Taktarov in UFC 7.
Credit UFC

It was September 1995 when UFC 7 took place at Memorial Auditorium. The main event of the Brawl in Buffalo featured future Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock against Oleg Taktarov.

The April 8 event will be the UFC's third in the Empire State since the Mixed Martial Arts ban was lifted in 2016. After nearly 20 years of wrangling, Governor Cuomo signed the bill in April 2016, saying the economics that go with professional mixed martial arts can be a knockout for New York's economy.

"Buffalo, for example, you bring that Canadian market down, you bring those dollars into the Buffalo market," Cuomo said at the time.

Albany estimates MMA to eventually generate $137 million in economic activity. The UFC, the sport’s largest promotion, announced plans at the signing to hold its first New York show November 12 at the Garden.

New York became the last state in the country to legalize the sport. Governor George Pataki had banned it in 1997, when MMA was mostly unregulated.

The sport’s violence drew opposition from some lawmakers and proposals from others to better protect fighters, who wear small gloves and engage in a combination of kickboxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu, often inside a cage or other enclosure.  Provisions added to the law raise the insurance required to $50,000 for fighter injuries, a $50,000 death benefit and $1 million for life-threatening brain injuries. It also authorizes the state to study potential funding mechanisms for long-term care of fighters who develop degenerative brain conditions.