It’s called mixed martial arts for a reason.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sport’s largest promoter, is suing to overturn New York’s ban on live bouts, saying the 1997 law runs roughshod over its freedom of expression, a novel argument that likens MMA to live ballet, music or theater.
Zuffa LLC, which owns the UFC, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. district court against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. seeking a declaration that the ban violates the First Amendment.
Spokesmen for Schneiderman and Vance declined to comment.
The company was joined in the lawsuit by fans of the sport and a group of mixed martial arts fighters — Jon “Bones” Jones, Gina “Conviction” Carano, Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, Matt Hamill (also known as “The Hammer”) and Brian Stann (“All American”) – who “have suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable harm” under the ban.
“Live professional MMA is clearly intended and understood as public entertainment and, as such, is expressive activity protected by the First Amendment,” the lawsuit said.
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