New York Expected to Vote On and Pass MMA Legalization Next Week
New York currently remains the lone holdout to legalized mixed martial arts in the United States, but that could all change next week.
While a bill to legalize MMA in New York passed the State Senate earlier this year, not many people were persuaded that this would finally be the year for the bill to make it all the way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his ultimate approval. After all, the State Senate has approved the bill each year for seven years, only to have it die on the Assembly's vine.
This year, however, it appears that the bill is likely to make it through the various committees necessary to reach the New York State Assembly for a vote, which has never happened before. If it does so, and passes, Cuomo is expected to put his signature on the legislation.
According to Newsday‘s Mark La Monica, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that the Assembly would likely vote next week on the bill to legalize MMA. What should make MMA supporters more optimistic than ever this year is the idea that the majority Democratic conference rarely moves a bill to the floor for a vote without enough support to pass it. La Monica said that it is believed there is enough support to pass the measure.
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Following passage of the bill, the New York State Athletic Commission would then have 120 days to adopt guidelines and regulations.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has long spearheaded the fight to legalize mixed martial arts in New York. While the promotion took Tuesday's news as a good sign, UFC Vice President of Global Business Development and Government Relations Michael J. Britt remained guarded in his optimism.
“We want to thank Speaker Heastie and of course we also need to thank Majority Leader Morelle, who has worked tirelessly to educate his colleagues and build support on both sides of the aisle, but particularly among Assembly Democrats. Our thanks, as well, go to those legislators in both houses and both parties who have supported this effort over the years,” he said in a prepared statement.
“This is a big step forward for MMA, the athletes and the huge fan base the sport enjoys in New York, however, there are still more steps before New York finally crosses the hurdle to legalize professional MMA. We look forward to working with the chairs of the committees and all Assembly members to provide them with any information they may need as they address the bill to legalize and regulate MMA.”
If all goes as planned, the UFC could hold an event in New York as soon as November. After the promotion was unsuccessful in its legal challenge to clear the way for an April date, it still has a date on hold for Madison Square Garden in November.
Will this finally be the year that the final MMA domino in the United States falls?