A New York judge has denied the UFC's injunction that would have allowed the promotion to put on an event at Madison Square Garden in April and now UFC 198 will need to find a new home.
The UFC made a bold move last year declaring an event would happen at the historic arena in April despite a ban that currently exists in New York. While lawmakers and lobbyists have tried to lift the ban for several years, the rule still exists and professional mixed martial arts is not allowed to happen within the state.
According to the order handed down from Judge Kimba Wood, the preliminary injunction filed by Zuffa -- parent company to the UFC -- was denied based on the grounds that the Federal courts wouldn't rule on the constitutionality of state laws until the state actually has a chance to rule on them first.
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The UFC is challenging the MMA ban in New York with a lawsuit but the Federal course denied the injunction that would have allowed the event scheduled for April 23 to proceed.
"We are disappointed by the District Court's denial of our motion for a preliminary injunction and its effort to redirect the litigation to the state courts," UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said in a statement. "One thing, and one thing only, prevents Madison Square Garden and other New York venues from hosting UFC events that are allowed in the other 49 States in the Union -- that is the New York law that we believe violates the federal Constitution.
"Today's decision, while disappointing, only underscores the importance of UFC's pending appeal to the Second Circuit. UFC will evaluate this decision with an eye to pursuing every effective avenue to bring New Yorkers the same live events available to spectators throughout the United States."
The injunction being denied means the UFC will have to shift gears for the scheduled event in April to a new location.
If there's a bright side to the situation it's the fact that the legalization of MMA in New York might still be closer than ever before with Governor Andrew Cuomo including the sport in his budget for the state in 2016.
That's definitely good news for the chances that MMA finally gets sanctioned in New York, but it just won't happen in time for the UFC to promote an event in April.
"We are very hopeful that the New York State legislature, either through a stand alone bill or via the Governor's budget, will approve MMA in NY as soon as possible," Epstein wrote.
While no official fights were announced for the card, UFC 198 was likely going to feature Jon Jones returning to the UFC in a title fight rematch against Daniel Cormier in the main event. That fight is still expected to take place in April but the UFC hasn't announced any new plans or locations for the event.