New York has finally lifted its ban of MMA, making it the last state to do so.
On Tuesday, the New York State Assembly passed a bill that legalizes mixed martial arts in the state. The bill, which needed 76 votes to pass, was approved with a vote of 113-25.
The sport was banned in New York by politician George Pataki in 1997, in the earliest days of the UFC. At the time, mixed martial arts was still known as “no-hold-barred” fighting and was often compared to human cockfighting due to the lack of rules and regulations. The sport progressed over the years with the addition of gloves as well as a list of rules approved by athletic commissions in the US. New York eventually became the only state to still hold a ban on MMA.
Statements by UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertita and Bellator MMA President Scott Coker can be seen below:
"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.
"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.”
“The New York Assembly’s vote to legalize MMA is a watershed moment for this incredible sport. As someone who has been promoting combat sports for more than 30 years, this is a very exciting time for mixed martial arts. We at Bellator MMA are very much looking forward to hosting an event in the 'Crown Jewel of America,' New York.”