Mixed martial arts (MMA) regulation in the "Empire State" -- take three.
If at first you don't succeed ... well, you know the rest. Bill No. S1707A, designed to legalize MMA in New York, passed the State Senate today by a vote of 42-18 and will (eventually) head to the Assembly floor for a final vote, the promotion announced today.
And UFC Co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta is "confident" they'll clear the final hurdle:
"It’s time to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to New York. With every passing month, our sport gets more and more popular around the country and in New York. We want to thank the State Senate, and we’re confident that when Assembly members take an objective look at our safety record, our popularity with their constituents, and the economic benefits and jobs we would bring to the State, they will take the same action and UFC fans will finally be able to see live UFC events in their home state."
New York is one of just six states that (still) does not regulate MMA.
UFC held a public press conference at Madison Square Garden (MSG) earlier this year with New York assemblyman Dean Murray and MSG Sports president Scott O'Neil to present an independent economic impact study indicating the "Empire State" would generate about $16 million from the UFC alone based on just two pay-per-view (PPV) events per year, split between "The World's Most Famous Arena" and Buffalo's HSBC Arena.
And that doesn't include the jobs and additional income from regional or independent promotions also throwing their hat into the New York fight scene.
Former New York Governor David Paterson first proposed MMA legislation in early 2010 to help reduce the state's $9 billion deficit; however, Assembly Democrats stripped approval from the budget bill shortly thereafter.
And it wasn't the first time MMA came oh-so-close to becoming legal.
It appeared to be on the verge of sanctioning back in 2008, but some eleventh-hour concerns from uneducated members of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development scuttled its passage.
Another session on the matter began in the state capital on Jan. 7, 2009, and was voted on later in the year, indicating that the pendulum was perhaps finally swinging in a positive direction. Unfortunately, progress was stymied once again.
Has the UFC finally been able to tip the regulation scales in its favor?