Lorenzo Fertitta, the Ultimate Fighting Championship Chairman & CEO, on Thursday thanked the members of the New York State Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation for overwhelmingly – 11 to 3 – approving S.2755, which would authorize the New York State Athletic Commission to add Mixed Martial Arts to the list of contact sports that may hold matches and exhibitions in New York.
“New York State’s time has come. We are confident that 2013 is the year that the Empire State joins 48 other states in legalizing MMA,” Fertitta said. “I want to thank Senator Griffo and the other cosponsors of the legislation for their leadership and Senator Little and the other members of the committee for their support.
“On behalf of the millions of New York State UFC and MMA fans, I’m hoping that this year, finally, the Assembly will join the Senate in supporting this legislation to bring revenues to the state and to local governments across the state, produce desperately needed jobs, and allow New Yorkers to see UFC and professional MMA events live in their own communities,” Fertitta said. “As the UFC commemorates its 20th anniversary this year, we would love to celebrate with the most exciting fight card in our history at Madison Square Garden this fall. Then we want to hit venues from Buffalo to Utica to Long Island.”
S.2755 is sponsored by Senator Griffo (R-Utica), along with eight cosponsors – Republicans and Democrats. The bill passed the Senate in both 2012 and 2011.
“I know the Senate will again pass the bill this year and I am hopeful that with the leadership of Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle it will finally become law this year,” Sen. Griffo said. “The legislation enjoys widespread, bipartisan support from upstate and downstate members in both houses. Legalizing MMA in New York will means jobs and increased revenue. It will mean UFC, as well as other MMA promoters, will hold matches here. It means New York fans will no longer have to travel to New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and other states but will be able to see live professional MMA in their local arenas.”
“Once New York legalizes and regulates MMA, outstanding UFC fighters like light heavyweight champion Jon Jones – born in Rochester, raised in Endicott and living in Ithaca – and middleweight contender Chris Weidman – a proud Long Islander and Hofstra graduate – will be able to fight in front of their hometown fans. And scores of other UFC fighters, including Olympic medalist and bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, will finally be able to show off their skills for their New York fans live and in person,” Fertitta said.