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,”
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
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.