The Ultimate Fighting Championship is cheering the Senate Republicans’ budget proposal, which would legalize professional mixed-martial arts bouts within New York state.
The UFC, the largest mixed-martial arts promoter, has lobbied state lawmakers the past several years to lift the state’s ban on the sport, which was enacted during the Pataki Administration. They’ve gone as far as to sue the state, claiming the ban violates the First Amendment.
“We are very appreciative of the leadership shown by Senator Skelos and the members of the Senate, who have twice overwhelmingly approved legislation on a bi-partisan basis to bring the UFC and MMA to New York,” UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said in a statement. “It is our hope – and the hope of MMA fans across New York – that the Assembly will also vote to include this legislation in the final budget that is approved by the Legislature, and Governor Cuomo will sign it into law.”
The problem for the UFC isn’t in the Senate, however. The upper chamber passed a bill legalizing mixed-martial arts bouts last year, but it stalled in the Democratic-led Assembly.
Both the Senate and the Assembly unveiled their budget proposals yesterday. The Assembly’s budget didn’t propose legalize mixed-martial arts, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week that he hasn’t taken a position on the issue.