ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Professional mixed martial arts fighting has been banned in New York State for several years, but lawmakers are continuing their fight for legalization at the Capitol.
According to lawmakers, New York-based MMA fighters are forced to leave the state to participate in fights.
For former middle weight champion and Long Islander Chris Weidman, fighting in a professional MMA bout in his home state has always been a dream.
“To be able to drive to Madison Square Garden or take the train in and have my friends and family there to support me would be a dream come true,” he said.
And UFC fans like Justin Koreman would do just about anything to see a fight in New York.
“I’d probably give a kidney,” he said. “Being able to go hop a train and see a fight in the city or watching it here in Albany, to see a fight, that would mean everything.”
Spa City Jiu-Jitsu owner Eddie Fyvie said that even though professional MMA can’t occur in New York, amateur fights can.
“The bill stated that professional mixed martial arts is what’s illegal, so it’s kind of a loophole,” he said.
But it’s not as safe as a professional fight.
“They turned out to really not be a positive thing,” he said. “Because there was no sanctioning, no governing bodies; there was no regulation behind it.”
Fyvie said legalization would make the sport safer overall. Lawmakers agree.
“I think that if we legalize this sport, it will become something even better,” Santabarbara said.