If you haven’t heard by now, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to legalize and regulate professional MMA – a huge victory for UFC fans and athletes. The passage of this legislation has been a long time coming. MMA is legal in every other state, making New York the last state to take that step after it had been banned in 1997 by then-governor George Pataki.
Interestingly enough, the New York Senate had passed the MMA legislation every year for the past seven years, but it was stalled before reaching the Assembly floor. This time around, it made it to the Assembly, and the bill passed with a 113-25 vote; it needed a minimum of 76. Now, we are just waiting for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill, which seems to be just a formality given his previous support of MMA.
Once the bill is signed, the New York State Athletic Commission has 120 days to adopt rules for MMA. They must also hire referees, judges and inspectors and address budgetary and staff concerns.
In the meantime, plans are already in the works for hosting the first New York event in the world’s most famous arena: Madison Square Garden. The UFC will also look to schedule events in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany and Brooklyn at some point in the future. After all, the UFC has committed to holding at least four events per year in New York for the first three years after it is legalized and regulated in New York.
This is especially exciting for the few UFC fighters who have ties to New York and the surrounding area. Check it out!
Chris Weidman has been a leading force in getting MMA legalized in his home state. He’s definitely been the most vocal proponent for the bill – over the years, he’s met with assembly members and used his social media pages to draw awareness to the issue. It makes sense for Weidman to earn a spot on the card for New York’s first event in over 20 years.
Jon Jones is the best pound-for-pound fighter and always draws a crowd, so choosing him to headline a card in his home state seems like a no-brainer. He hails from Rochester and is a fan-favorite; naturally, this is a match made in heaven. We’ll have to see how his light heavyweight bout with Daniel Cormier ends up, but regardless, we could see Jones defending his new title or even getting a third fight with Cormier in New York.
Frankie Edgar might not be from New York, but he is from New Jersey so seeing him on a card at Madison Square Garden is not far-fetched. We would love to see a McGregor-Edgar matchup for the featherweight title, and what better place than New York? It’s closer for the McGregor fan base, anyway! New York has a huge Irish American population, and it’s a shorter flight for Irish fans than Las Vegas.
Attend a UFC® Event
UFC New York will most likely not occur until November, but we have several big events coming up in the meantime. UFC 197 and UFC 199 will both be insane and feature two of our New York fighters: Jon Jones at 197 and Chris Weidman at 199. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
Be there with the UFC VIP Experience and enjoy VIP hospitality, fighter meet & greets, reserved floor seating at the weigh-ins and premium seat availability. See you in either Vegas or Los Angeles!