ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The vote to legalize professional mixed martial arts in New York could come to the assembly floor as early as Tuesday.
New York remains the only state in the country that hasn’t legalized MMA. The bill has consecutively passed in the state senate for several years, but has been blocked from ever being voted on in the assembly. But that may soon change.
Ronald Mcevilly, Jr. has been practicing MMA for 25 years an teaching the sport for 15 years. But he and his students have never been able to see a professional fight in New York.
“Right now, with no regulations, sanctioning or governing body, it’s kind of run amuck and we need to home it back in and let New York State take control of it,” he said.
The state assembly is expected to vote on the bill sometime this week. Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has been a leader in the assembly for legalizing the sport. He said New York MMA fighters have a right to compete in their own state.
“This is going to give these athletes the chance to play the home game in front of the home crowd,” he said. “No longer will they have to load friends and family up in a bus and bring them across state lines.”
Lack of legalization also means the state has lost on tourism dollars.
Assemblyman Dan Stec said the support has always been there for the bill, and the only thing that’s changed is the assembly speaker.
“Here’s a bill that has tremendous amount of support in that chamber but has been blocked from coming to a vote for several years because the speaker didn’t like it,” he said.
Mcevilly said there’s nothing more exciting than seeing the bill have the support to finally become a law.
“We’re all excited to see the possibilities, the opportunities, the economic boom,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity in this sport for everyone.”
Many are expecting the vote to take place in the assembly on Tuesday. If it does pass, it still has to make it past the governor before MMA can officially become legal.