Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick today signed a bill into law that regulates mixed martial arts in the "Bay State," paving the way for the sport's top brand, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and other promotions to host events in 2010 and beyond.
UFC President Dana White, a Boston-area native, has gushed for years about the possibility of promoting a show in "Beantown." In fact, during the UFC 101 post-fight press conference he revealed his grand plans to stage a major event in the historic and beloved Fenway Park in mid to late 2010.
It's now time rumble.
UFC officials stormed Massachusetts earlier this year, attempting to convince lawmakers that MMA regulation is good for them and the state economy … to the tune of $12.3 million in just one weekend.
The dog and pony show was apparently very effective -- the bill breezed through the State Senate by a vote of 34-1. It then headed to the House Ways and Means Committee for additional consideration, where it sailed through by a vote of 144-10.
Patrick's historic signature earlier this afternoon was a mere formality.
Former number one lightweight contender and local-area fighter, Kenny Florian, was thrilled to hear the news. He, along with UFC vice president of regulation and governmental affairs, Marc Ratner, as well as general counsels Lawrence Epstein and Michael Mersch, comprised the UFC contingent charged with making the case for regulation.
He'll now more than likely get the opportunity to compete in his own backyard sometime soon, including his neighbors Marcus Davis, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Rivera and Gabriel Gonzaga, among other talented fighters who hail from the region.