Connecticut, Canada make strides in legalizing MMA

Maggie Hendricks

June 5, 2013 was a special day for MMA as two different North American governments took steps to legalize MMA. Connecticut's legislature voted to regulate MMA and Canada officially made MMA legal.

The Connecticut bill still has to be signed by the governor, but it passed by such a wide margin that a signature is expected. With Connecticut's acceptance of MMA, only Montana and Alaska are unregulated, but they still allow the sport. Professional MMA is still illegal in New York.

Canada's criminal code was vague in its description of MMA. A law from the 19th century made prize fighting illegal. In the 30s, boxing was given an exemption, but MMA technically wasn't allowed. That's right, Georges St-Pierre was breaking the law the many times he fought in his country. They removed the vagueness of the law to ensure MMA was legal all over the MMA-crazy country.

The only state with pending legislation is New York, a fact that UFC president Dana White mentioned on Twitter.

As Kevin Iole noted, legalization in New York doesn't look good for this year. The UFC has poured millions of dollars in lobbying in trying to get the law changed, but they've met resistance based on political and union issues. The UFC is confident that the MMA will be passed if they get a vote, but that may not happen.

"It was supposed to be heard yesterday in conference by the Democrats in the Assembly, but it wasn't," said UFC VP of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner to MMA Fighting. "Next week, it'll be heard. All we want is a vote. If we get out of the conference and have a vote, we'll win. It would be very sad if it gets stuck in committee."

But New York's resistance doesn't dull what happened in Canada and Connecticut on Wednesday.

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