New Yorkers Escape The Nanny-State To Attend MMA Event. Sadly, They're Forced To Go To Jersey To Do It
Sweaty, shirtless men rolling around on a mat isn't exactly our cup of tea, but do we really need the government to tell us it's not OK? Answer: of course not.
Despite New York State's best efforts to regulate what consenting adults do in their spare time, New Yorkers are still flocking to mixed martial arts events. Unfortunately, they're forced to go to other states to do it -- MMA fighting has been banned in the Empire State since the mid-1990s.
On Saturday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship held a fight at the Izod Center in New Jersey. According to UFC officials, nearly 40-percent of the tickets sold were sold to New Yorkers.
"We are so pleased that fans from the Big Apple, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and upstate decided to cross state lines to watch the country's fastest growing sport in person, since they currently cannot do that at home," UFC Chairman & CEO Lorenzo Fertitta says. "Tickets were sold to New Yorkers from as far away as Watkins Glen, Tonawanda, Fulton, and even Clifton Park."
Since MMA fighting was banned in New York, advocates for the sport have been lobbying state legislators in an attempt to lift the ban. This year, lifting the ban seemed promising. However, as our colleague reported earlier this week, the Assembly decided it won't vote this year on a bill lifting the ban.
"While we may have had a setback with the New York State Assembly earlier this week, we want New York's UFC fans and MMA enthusiasts to know that the fight to legalize and regulate MMA in New York continues. And our resolve to see UFC events at Madison Square Garden, the First Niagara Center and arenas across New York has never been stronger," Fertitta continues.
New York is one of only two states that's outlawed MMA fighting (Connecticut is the only other place where two consenting adults beating the shit out of each other in a regulated environment is illegal). In 46 other states, MMA fighting is allowed but regulated.
The bill to lift the ban -- sponsored by upstate Assemblyman Joe Morelle -- has received bipartisan support in both chambers of the New York Legislature. For some reason, however, it won't reach a vote in the Assembly.
"All we're asking for is a vote on the Assembly floor. We're convinced that if the Assembly leadership allowed the full Assembly to vote on the bill it will be passed overwhelmingly, as it has three times in the Senate," Marc Ratner, UFC's Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, says.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- New York City's Food Pantries Are Struggling to Keep Up With a Growing Demand For Meals
Fri., Nov. 27, 6:30pm
Fri., Nov. 27, 7:00pm
Fri., Nov. 27, 7:30pm
Sat., Nov. 28, 12:00am
- As Islamophobic Rhetoric Gets Louder, NYC Muslims Fear for Their Mosques
- Forget Big Chain Theaters — Watch Movies at These Cool NYC Spots Instead