After a seemingly endless assembly session, The State of New York has officially lifted its ban on Mixed Martial Arts. The New York Assembly voted 113-25 in favor today of a bill that would legalize the sport in the state after a 19 year ban.
The bill had several hurdles to pass, including votes from the committee for Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sports Development, the Codes Committee, the Ways and Means committee and the Assembly floor.
The most difficult and entertaining hurdle took place on the Assembly floor. Some of the Assembly members gave reasons against passing the bill ranging from corruption in the sport to the negative impact on women and children to the possibility of sex offenders taking advantage of the sport. Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell likened the sport to gay porn, while Charles Barron compared MMA to slavery where men were "thrown in a cage." Another politician claimed that MMA consisted of bare-knuckle fighting. But through all of that, MMA is finally legalized.
The bill will allow for the New York Athletic Commission to have jurisdiction over all combat sports, including MMA. All combat sports in the state will be required to pay an 8.5% tax on gate and an a 3% tax on broadcasting rights sold. (Source: Jim Genia)
Today was the first time that the bill was voted on in the Assembly. For the past seven years the State Senate passed the legislation, only to stall at the Assembly. All that's left is for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill into law, which he's almost certain to do.
The UFC will hold a special conference call at 7:30 PM ET later this evening for more details on their plans in New York.