ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York is the only state that has not legalized mixed martial arts, but supporters are hopeful 2016 is their year.
Professional mixed martial arts has been blocked in New York State because many opponents argue it’s too violent, but Governor Andrew Cuomo included the sport in his proposed budget.
MMA could generate millions of dollars for the state by attracting tourists to local venues. Aside from economic impact, supporters also argue legislation would actually make the sport safer.
“We’ve had fighters at events and their opponent did not have medicals, and they were quote-unquote amateur,” MMA trainer Alan Condon said. “We walked away because our fighters didn’t want to pick up some contagious blood disease.”
Condon said that’s because there aren’t any professional standards, and many young fighters don’t have health insurance.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has been pushing for MMA legislation in the governor’s budget since last year. He said the state could generate millions of dollars from legalizing the sport.
“Over the next couple of years, we would expect $67 million to be generated in economic activity,” he said.
But also, the champions who train at Empire Martial Arts in Colonie would finally get to play the home game.
“Local favorites like Tommy Marcellino, who was born and raised in Amsterdam,” Santabarbara said. “He never got to play in front of a home crowd, and he’d like to do that and many other MMA fighters would like to do that.”
Santabarbara said support for his legislation is growing, and it’s a good sign that it’s included in the governor’s budget.
If MMA legislation remains in the budget and passes in the legislature, professional MMA fights could being in New York in April.