MMA Legal Nationwide after NY Assembly Passes Bill
It finally happened! With all the day-to-day things that happen in the sport of MMA, the state of New York’s previous ban and seemingly never changing stance on the sport can get lost in the shuffle–but not if you’re the UFC brass.
Senator John McCain famously once called MMA “human cockfighting.” With mainstream exposure through Pay-Per-View and it’s broadcasting deal with Fox, the crossover appeal of its megastars, major sponsorships, and a set of Unified Rules that have brought the sport to 49 other states and many other countries, eight years of battle finally paid off.
Technically, Governor Andrew Cuomo still has to sign the bill but he had already voiced his intention to do so pending passing through Assembly. The final vote came down as 113-25 in favor of MMA yesterday.
After the signing, the New York State Athletic Commission will have 120 days to adopt rules & regulations (most likely the Unified Rules mentioned above.)
The 19-year ban would be lifted on August 1 according to lohud.com. The main roadblock in the assembly presented itself in the former of now former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who is now serving prison time for various (unrelated) corruption charges. Silver had been aligned with the Culinary Worker’s Union Local 226 who also tried to block MMA in New York while doing battle with the Fertitta brothers, the owners of Zuffa, LLC (UFC) and non-union Station Casinos.
Some of the testimony against the passing included comparisons to slavery and “gay porn with a different ending” (from openly gay Hon. Daniel J. O’ Donnell who is also the brother to Rosie O’ Donnell, who identifies as Lesbian.) Truly uneducated in MMA, Hon. Deborah Glick is still under the impression that MMA is bare-knuckle (gloves have been mandatory since UFC 14 in 1997) among other issues.
Of course this is all before the first professional, sanctioned event has brought in any profit to the state and host city. Keep an eye on that of the coming months. Additionally, no one has died in professional MMA that mandates medical attention and insurance compared to amateur, yet amateur MMA is legal in the state.
Boxing and Pro Wrestling have ended lives in the ring, but all is good.
All of the negative concern is now mute with the UFC is targeting Madison Square Garden in November for their debut in the area. Bellator MMA is looking at Barclays Center and other possible venues.
“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 Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said.