By Matt Ambrose,
Sports Business Writer
Crowds gathered into Madison Square Garden last Saturday night for the first UFC event ever held inside the world’s most famous arena. They were given a treat, with the main event featuring Conor McGregor, arguably the most notable UFC fighter in the sport.
McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez in the second round to claim the lightweight belt.
McGregor, who already possesses the UFC featherweight belt, knocked out Alvarez at 3:04 of the second round to win the bout. McGregor now becomes the first man in UFC history to hold two belts at one time. McGregor took advantage of a missed punch by Alvarez, dodging it and firing a quick combination at Alvarez that sent him to the ground.
“They’re not on my level,” McGregor said after the fight. “You’ve got to have size, reach, length. You’ve got to have some attributes. If you don’t, I will rip your head off. That’s what I say every time.”
McGregor was in complete control all night long, keeping Alvarez off-balanced throughout the bout. Alvarez showed perseverance after being knocked down three times over the first three minutes of the fight. McGregor eventually became too much, as the onslaught continued up until the knockout.
After the fight, McGregor announced that he is expecting his first child in early 2017 and will be taking a break until then. During his time off, he will be expecting the new owners of the UFC to be contacting him.
One thing’s for sure from the fight on Saturday night. The UFC is in good hands with Conor McGregor becoming must see TV.
“This ain’t hype. This is real, man,” UFC President Dana White said. “Everybody said that the kink in his armor was wrestling, and when he meets a guy who can wrestle he’s in big trouble — not one takedown tonight. Defended everything.”
The fight also made history by becoming the first MMA fight in the state of New York. A bill signed into law back in 1997 banned the sport in the state, a law that stood until this past April when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing it.
The vote to legalize MMA in New York passed with a 113-25 vote, and along with the evident overwhelming support, those in opposition made several ludicrous excuses. Excuses such as the sport causes injuries – which is the case in nearly every sport – were made in an effort to make the original law stand.
However, the crowd that came out to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night showed that they were ready for a UFC fight in their neck of the woods. A crowd of 20,407 came out to the fight, paying a total of $17.7 million, which is a new UFC record.
Conor McGregor was able to put on a show for the full house that packed The Garden. He alongside the state of New York were able to make UFC history. With Conor McGregor at the forefront of the sport and a new fight venue being made available, the state of the UFC seems very favorable.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 22nd print edition.
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