The UFC has seen nearly 20 Long Island-based fighters compete inside its Octagon. But never has the Octagon been inside a Long Island venue to host a UFC event.
The UFC will host an event at the renovated Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, July 22.
“The Coliseum has a storied history of hosting major sporting events and is the perfect stage for Long Island’s first UFC event,” Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement Friday. “We had a great turnout in Brooklyn for our inaugural card, and look forward to continuing the momentum at the Coliseum on July 22.”
The UFC card will air on Fox, putting Long Island and NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in primetime on national television. No fights have been announced yet. Tickets will go on sale June 2. It will be the fifth of six UFC events scheduled for July.
UFC on Fox at the Coliseum will be the fifth UFC event in New York since the state legalized MMA in March 2016. UFC 205 took place at Madison Square Garden last November, followed by UFC Fight Night Albany in December, UFC 208 at Barclays Center in February and UFC 210 next weekend in Buffalo.
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment manages the Coliseum, which has its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday after a 20-month, $165 million renovation. It opens officially on April 5 with Billy Joel playing to a sold-out crowd.
Nine athletes with Long Island connections, either past or present, are among the 500-plus fighters on the UFC’s active roster. It is reasonable to expect at least a couple of them will be booked for fights at the arena they’ve all driven by regularly. Chris Weidman wrestled across the street from the Coliseum at Nassau Community College then across the other street at Hofstra University. Gian Villante played football at Hofstra. Ryan LaFlare played lacrosse and Chris Wade wrestled for Nassau CC. Ray Longo’s gym, home to Weidman, Aljamain Sterling and Al Iaquinta, is a two-minute drive from the Coliseum.