It’s finally happened – the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is now legal in the state of New York.
In previous years the bill to legalize the sport has always come unstuck when it reached the New York State Assembly, but this year it was at last put to the floor and passed by an overwhelming majority of 113-25.
As such, the near 20-year ban on MMA in New York has been lifted, and became the 50th state to legalize the sport in the United States.
“This has been a long time coming and on behalf of our New York UFC athletes and fans, I want to offer heartfelt thanks to Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Morelle and all the Members of the Assembly – Democrats and Republicans – who voted for this bill,” UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said in a statement.
“Joe Morelle has worked tirelessly to educate his colleagues and build support for legalizing professional MMA and regulating both professional and amateur MMA. He has worked closely with Senator Joe Griffo, who has shepherded this effort in the Senate, where the bill has passed with strong bipartisan support for the last seven years, and MMA fans owe both a huge debt of gratitude.”
There is still some red tape to go though, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo being required to put his signature to the bill, and after that The New York State Athletic Commission will have 120 days to draft guidelines and regulations as the sanctioning body for the state.
After that it’s all systems go, and the UFC have already committed to doing at least four events in New York for the first three years that the sport is legal in the state.
That’s expected to include a huge event at Madison Square Garden before the end of this year to celebrate this long anticipated moment in the sport’s history.
Though the passing off the bill is largely down to the UFC’s years of persistence, they are not the only organization to benefit from the ruling, and Bellator were also among those celebrating the news.
“The New York Assembly’s vote to legalize MMA is a watershed moment for this incredible sport,” Bellator CEO Scott coker stated. “As someone who has been promoting combat sports for more than 30 years, this is a very exciting time for mixed martial arts,” said Coker. “We’ve already been in contact with the great people at the Barclays Center and several other incredible venues, and we can’t wait bring our world-class athletes and action-packed shows to an arena in the Empire State soon.”