Tuesday March 22 stood as a momentous day in MMA history as the last state government in the USA has opted legalized pro MMA.
It was a sixteen year battle, but after an overwhelming vote of 113-25 in the New York Assembly. In a ceremony April 14th at Madison Square Garden, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially signed it into law. The New York State Athletic Commission has 120 days to get official rules set, plus vetting officials and promoters’ and fighters’ licenses. The first day pro MMA promotions can have a card in the state is September 1.
The UFC, Bellator, and World Series of Fighting issued statements happy about the passage, with all looking to have events in New York as soon as the commission is ready and venues are open. The UFC is looking to do two events in the state, with the first in Madison Square Garden in the 4th quarter of the year. Ronda Rousey’s and Chris Weidman’s have been thrown around for the MSG event. Bellator has been in talks with the Barclay Center for their first New York event.
With the pro fighters set to fight in the state, there is another victory you may not know about. New York had amateur MMA for years, but it was highly unregulated. While some promotions in the state run their shows in a professional manner, with proper medical staff and fight clearances, some shows were more like underground shows which had little staff and oversight.
Under the bill, the state commission can issue licenses to promoters, making sure they have a medical staff available, and proper officials are there to oversee the fights. Amateur fighters will also get licensure, making sure they pass a physical and are qualified to compete.
The bill overall looks over all fighters. The commission still needs to set up official rules, but with the Unified rules laid out, it will just be about if they are going to be progressive in some rules the MMA community has been fighting for the past few years.
The next four months should be interesting as MMA is officially a nationwide sport.