MMA bill passes in both houses of New York Legislature

March 22, 2016

The prospect of having professional mixed martial arts events in New York today took one giant step toward becoming a reality, as the New York State Assembly passed legislation to legalize and regulate MMA in the state.

“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," said UFC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Fertitta.

The passage of A.2604-C, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and 72 other Assembly sponsors, means the bill has now passed both houses and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his approval.

The legalization of MMA in New York is long overdue, as the state has a proud boxing tradition, having hosted some of the grandest fights in that sport's history.

UFC has committed to holding at least four events per year in New York for the first three years after professional MMA is legalized and regulated in New York.  Fertitta renewed that commitment.

“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.”

Fertitta noted all the support the bill has garnered over the last several years.

“New York’s amazing arenas – upstate and downstate – have worked with us to advocate passage of this bill.  So, too, have restaurants, hotels, businesses and others who recognize the economic value professional MMA can bring to New York,” Fertitta said. “Our athletes have been extraordinary.  More than 20 have been to Albany to help educate legislators about the fastest growing sport in the world.  And our fans have been phenomenal.  Through letters and phone calls, rallies and social media, New York’s MMA and UFC fans have lent their voices of support.  It took a while, but their voices have been heard.”

By Staff of and news services

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