MMA legal in Connecticut, Canada thanks to new legislation passing

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Legislators in Connecticut and Canada cleared the way for legal, regulated mixed martial arts in their jurisdictions yesterday. New York is now the last region in all of North America that has yet to legalize MMA.

Marc Ratner, UFC's Director of Regulatory Affairs, had a lot to celebrate yesterday as the Connecticut Senate passed legislation legalizing and regulating mixed martial arts and sent it to the governor to be signed into law and Canada's House of Commons amended an old law to explicitly allow MMA in that country.

Now New York is the only region of North American where MMA is not legal. Two states, Alaska and Montana, have no athletic commissions but do not ban the sport.

"Today is a real big day for the sport," Ratner told MMA Fighting. "I want people to understand there are 47 states that have athletic commissions that have approved the sport, and two states without commissions that allow the sport."

"It took us four years," said Ratner regarding the Canadian law. "They added the words 'and MMA' to boxing."

"The work that we've done in Ottawa has been for the sport of MMA, not just UFC" said Tom Wright, the UFC's Director of Operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. "People say it's self-serving. Sure it is. But when we got the changes in Ontario, the first year, we held two events and I think there were 20 other events across the province that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the work for that sport that we championed."

As for New York, it continues to be blocked from getting a floor vote by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The good news is that a sexual harassment scandal seems to be expanding and may engulf Silver. Fight Opinion has an excellent breakdown of all that.

For his part, Ratner hasn't given up on New York bringing MMA regulation to a vote this year.

"It was supposed to be heard yesterday in conference by the Democrats in the Assembly, but it wasn't," said Ratner.

"Next week, it'll be heard. All we want is a vote. If we get out of the conference and have a vote, we'll win. It would be very sad if it gets stuck in committee."

Most observers, however, believethat Silver will continue using the opposition of women's group as an excuse to prevent a floor vote.

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