Lorenzo Fertitta, The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Chairman & CEO, applauded the introduction of legislation – A.6506 – in the New York State Assembly to authorize the New York State Athletic Commission to add Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to the list of contact sports that may hold matches and exhibitions in New York. Fertitta thanked Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle for his leadership on the issue.
“The UFC thanks Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle for introducing the bill and garnering the support of more than 60 cosponsors so far. We are optimistic that with his support, guidance and leadership, this will be the year that professional MMA is legalized in New York,” Fertitta said. “We know that MMA will help bring jobs, revenues and economic development to New York and will allow our fans to see the fastest growing sport in the nation in arenas close to their homes.
“New York State has millions of UFC and MMA fans. More New Yorkers view UFC events on pay-per-view than residents of any other state. New York is home to one UFC champion and scores of other highly ranked UFC and MMA fighters,” Fertitta said. “As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the UFC later this year, we know our New York fans would love to celebrate with us with the most exciting fight card in our history at Madison Square Garden this fall. Then we want to hit other venues across upstate.
“All it will take to make New York the 49th state to legalize MMA is for the Speaker to allow the bill to come to the floor of the Assembly for a vote – we are very confident it will have far more than the 76 votes needed for passage – and for the Governor to sign it into law,” Fertitta said.
A.6506 is ‘same as’ S.2755, which passed the Senate last month by a vote of 47-15. In addition to Morelle, the prime sponsor, there are 63 co-sponsors and multi sponsors from every region of the state, including 49 Democrats and 15 Republicans.
“This is a popular sport, one that is legal in 48 other states and which holds the promise of very real economic benefits for New York. Given the popular demand, I believe this is a question that should be reconsidered,” said Morelle (D-Irondequoit). “I appreciate the issues that have been raised with respect to MMA. The fact is we can set rules for the game, as other states do, and we should also acknowledge that contact sports are not new to New York, where boxing and football are an accepted part of the culture.”