U.S. District Court grants UFC right to proceed with lawsuit claiming NY MMA ban is 'unconstitutional'

Michael Cohen

While the promotion still has a long road ahead in its quest to overturn the MMA ban in New York, UFC got one step closer after the courts ruled that "vague" language in the state law could be deemed unconstitutional.

UFC-ya in court.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its lead plaintiff, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, will be allowed to move forward with its lawsuit against the state of New York after a federal judge ruled in favor of the combat sports promotion's right to argue a state-wide ban on mixed martial arts (MMA) is "unconstitutional."

A ban on cagefighting has been in effect since 1997.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wanted the suit thrown out of court, while UFC argued that the existing ban limited the liberty of those who would otherwise attend live events, as well as local fighters like Jon Jones, who may not be able to afford to displace their homes and families to fight elsewhere.

Okay, maybe "Bones" is a bad example, based on this, but you get the point.

"We are pleased with the outcome of this crucial ruling," Ike Lawrence Epstein, UFC's chief operating officer, said in a statement (via Democrat & Chronicle). "The inconsistency has cost the UFC considerable time and expense, but more important it has deprived MMA's countless New York fans of the opportunity to attend and enjoy live professional and amateur MMA events in New York."

Read the court order here.

UFC -- which struts its stuff in surrounding areas like Newark and Philadelphia -- presented an independent economic impact study indicating the state would generate about $16 million from the UFC alone based on just two pay-per-view (PPV) events per year, split between Manhattan's Madison Square Garden and Buffalo's HSBC Arena.

Get all the finer details here.

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. Put simply, money talks ... and UFC has the numbers to back it up. What they don't have, is the Culinary Union, an organization dedicated to making life miserable for the Fertitta brothers.

Find out why here.

A vote to approve legislation died in the state assemble earlier this year -- just like it does every year -- which has less to do with "inflated egos" and more to do with campaign contributions. Not even the threat of armbars could keep this thing afloat, which by the promotion's argument, is unconstitutional.

Whether or not a higher court agrees, remains to be seen.

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