It's been a long time coming, but it's official. As of March 22nd, 2016 MMA is going to be legal in New York State. Of course, there is a little bit of work to be done, but the steps are being taken to ensure that we will be seeing some of the sport's biggest stars fighting in New York City!
Madison Square Garden, the new Barclays Center, and other historic venues will now be able to host MMA fights that will bring in huge money, exposure, and sponsorships for the sport.
It was only a matter of time, but 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.
UFC's Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta weighed in:
"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."
In a press release, the UFC said it would hold four at least four events per year for each of the first three years the sport is legal in the state.
"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 Governor 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," Fertitta said. "We also look forward to scheduling events in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, and Brooklyn. We are excited."
So, MMA fans, you're free to rejoice. You might have to wait a bit to see the first event in NY but it'll definitely be worth the wait!
What do you think?
Did you think MMA would be legalized in NY State this soon?