For nine years UFC representatives went to NY’s capitol Albany to advocate for the legalization and Regulation of mixed martial arts. Five times it passed the Senate, but each time corrupt Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver refused to bring it to a vote.
Last January, Silver resigned as Speaker, following his arrest on corruption charges; the fetid fossil has since been convicted and sent to jail.
New Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, is a supporter of the bill. However, last year the bill again passed the Senate, in multiple versions, but it did not get sufficient support in the Assembly, again.
Thus New York remained the only state or province in North America where MMA was prohibited. But amateur MMA contests are taking place, often without blood tests. It is known that fighters with Hepatitis and even HIV are competing in New York, but without regulation, nothing is stopping them.
The long wait is finally over.
The MMA bill passed the Republican-controlled Senate. Then it passed through through three State Assembly committees: Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development; Codes; and Ways and Means.
Today the New York State Assembly passed the bill, A.2604-C, by an overwhelming 113-25 vote. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to approve it quickly. Cuomo already has provided a budget for the regulation of MMA.
“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 (Carl E.) Heastie, Majority Leader Morelle and all the members of the assembly – Democrats and Republicans – who voted for this bill,” said UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in a statement toMMAjunkie. “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.”
“While there are still additional steps that have to occur before professional MMA becomes a reality in New York, I want to assure our fans that if Gov. Cuomo signs the bill into law and the state athletic commission puts in place the appropriate regulations, we look forward to hosting our first New York event in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, home to so many epic sporting events throughout the decades. We also look forward to scheduling events in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany and Brooklyn. We are excited.”
The UFC is now planning on putting on at least four events per year for the next three years, in multiple cities in New York state.