Lorenzo Fertitta, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Chairman & CEO, applauded the Connecticut General Assembly’s House of Representatives for passing HB-5277 on Tuesday by an overwhelming 117-26 vote. The bill would legalize mixed martial arts (MMA) and add Connecticut to the list of 48 states where MMA is currently legal. He said MMA fans must now turn their attention to the Senate and urge the leadership to allow a vote on the bill.
“I want to thank the House members who supported this bill. It’s the right thing to do for the thousands of Connecticut MMA and UFC fans, for economic development in the state and for jobs,” Fertitta said. “We will now turn our attention to the Senate and urge the leadership to permit the bill to be voted upon. We are confident that if Senators are allowed to vote on the bill, it will pass with strong bipartisan support.”
HB-5277 is sponsored by Rep. Charles Clemons (124th District) and Senator Andres Ayala (23rd District), along with more than 34 additional co-sponsors – including nine Senators, Democrats and Republicans.
“Legalizing MMA is the right thing to do. I am proud of my colleagues in the House for the strong support they gave the bill and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to turn this bill into a law in 2013,” Rep. Clemons said. “The bill had strong support in the Committee on Public Safety and Security, the Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding, and on the Floor of the House. The majority of Representatives – Democrats and Republicans know that this is the right thing to do for Connecticut.”
“If MMA is legalized in Connecticut, it will mean jobs – union jobs – and economic activity for people and communities where it is desperately needed,” Sen. Ayala said. “MMA is the fastest growing sport in the nation. Fans in Connecticut watch it on broadcast, cable and pay-per-view television. They travel to other states and countries to watch it live. We should legalize it here in Connecticut and attract fans from other states and countries to our communities.
“I will work tirelessly for the remainder of the session to try and convince the leadership of the Senate that passing this bill to legalize and regulate MMA is the right thing to do and now is the time to do it,” Sen. Ayala said.
“UFC is eager to hold events in Hartford and Bridgeport and we know other national and regional MMA promoters look forward to holding events here as well,” Fertitta said. “And I know that Danbury resident and UFC light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira would love to fight close to home for his fans. And if the Senate passes the bill, we would love to make that happen.”