The biggest hurdle preventing the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York State has finally been cleared.
Long the only state in the United States which banned the sport, the Assembly in the capital city of Albany voted to legalize MMA on Tuesday on a bipartisan vote of 113-25.
The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has expressed his intention to sign it. From there, the New York State Athletic Commission has 120 days to adopt guidelines.
If all goes according to plan, the UFC will debut at Madison Square Garden in New York City in November.
“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,” said UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
For longtime followers of the story, Tuesday’s events had an almost surreal quality, as many had assumed legalization in the state to be a lost cause. A law banning the sport in the Empire State was enacted in 1997 in the midst of an anti-MMA media hysteria during the sport’s initial surge in popularity.
The current Unified Rules set which governs the sport was adopted in New Jersey in 2001, followed soon thereafter by Nevada. When current UFC owners Zuffa bought the company in 2001, they embraced athletic commission sanctioning as the means of removing the sport’s lawless stigma, and sought legalization throughout North America.
But as one state and province after another signed on, New York emerged as the last major holdout. Seven years in a row, the State Senate passed bills legalizing the sport. But they never got to the floor for a vote in the Assembly.
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Source:: mma fighting