Bill No. S1707A, for the leglaization and regulation of Mixed Martial Arts in New York state, passed the State Senate by a vote of 42-18. It will next go to the Assembly floor for a final vote. The Assembly is unfortunately home to male grandmother Bill Reilly, a longtime foe of MMA in NY.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco argued that many in the public now want it and the state can use the tax revenue it would generate: “It’s the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” DeFrancisco said.
The sport’s fate in the state now rests in the hands of the state Assembly, which in previous years has nixed efforts to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts.
Assembly bill sponsor Steven Englebright (D-Long Island) couldn’t handicap the bill’s chances moving forward. “The Senate action could cause some people to take another look,” Englebright said.
Gov. Cuomo has not taken a formal position on the sport, but did not include it in his budget proposal earlier this year.
UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones, who hails from Rochester, was at the Capitol lobbying and posing with lawmakers.
“Hopefully the same energy can carry over to the Assembly,” Jones said after the Senate vote.
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Although MMA has reached this point before, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta was positive:
"It’s time to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to New York. With every passing month, our sport gets more and more popular around the country and in New York. We want to thank the State Senate, and we’re confident that when Assembly members take an objective look at our safety record, our popularity with their constituents, and the economic benefits and jobs we would bring to the State, they will take the same action and UFC fans will finally be able to see live UFC events in their home state."