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New York State passes bill to legalize MMA

In huge news, New York State has passed a bill that finally ended its 19-year ban on MMA. The New York State Assembly voted 113-25 to legalize the sport that became banned in 1997. If everything goes according to plan, New York will become the last state to allow MMA into its arenas. Fittingly, MMA fighter and New York’s own Chris Weidman was one of the first fighters to break the news.


According to, the bill will now go to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is sure to sign and get it officially passed. According to ESPN, he has been calling for the sport to be legalized for quite some time. UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta made a statement on the history-making day. He enthusiastically stated:

“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 President Dana White reacted to the news as well. A simple Tweet was all he needed to show how he felt:


What’s curious was how long the process actually took.  The topic about allowing MMA in New York has been a controversial one for years. There have been many against the sport who state that it causes violence among children, including other issues. Assembly member Daniel J. O’Donnell compared the sport to, “gay porn but with a different ending.”

Sounds crazy right? That’s how people felt about MMA, but the same could unfortunately be said about professional wrestling. WWE has dominated the New York landscape for years, along with various other companies. If assembly members didn’t want violence, why promote the NFL? With concussion lawsuits and tough hits being praised, it didn’t quite add up. All sports in the end are somewhat the same, and that could be why a change was made in yesterday’s ruling.

There are those who say that MMA has replaced boxing as the must-watch fight sport in the world. While that may be debatable, it is no doubt that fighter’s like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey sell a lot of tickets. There are also other promotions besides the UFC that would have an opportunity to expand their market to New York. Bellator MMA, Invicta FC, ONE Championship, World Series of Fighting and many more would be given a chance to shine in the Big Apple.

A positive of the passed bill would include the revenue that would be collected. It sounds cliché, but Madison Square Garden is THE place to be, and everyone knows that. Events there, like any UFC PPV, would make an instant profit. The Barclays Center can also become another home for fights. The New York market would create a surplus of success for the sport.

Although there is still a fight to be held, this is a huge victory for the popular world of mixed martial arts. Soon it will be time to rumble inside the octagon. It’s a moment years in the making.


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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.

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