Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has redoubled efforts to get mixed martial arts (MMA) legalized in the last jurisdiction in the United States in which it is still banned: New York.
Despite having passed a bill legalizing the popular sport in the state Senate for six consecutive years, it has yet to make its way to the assembly floor to make it official. Call it bad timing, call it corruption, but the deal still hasn't been done.
The bill needs a simple majority of the 150 assembly members to pass, or 76 votes.
In spite of the roadblocks, UFC has boldly set a tentative event date for April 23 in Madison Square Garden while launching a lawsuit against the state for the ongoing ban.
"We are hopeful to soon have the opportunity to host events from Buffalo to Long Island. I urge New York MMA fans -- among the best and most knowledgeable in the country -- to help make it a reality," said Michael Britt, UFC's vice president of business development and government relations. "Thanks to New York's incredible MMA fans, there is now more support in the State Assembly -- particularly among members of the Democratic Majority -- for legalizing and regulating MMA than there has ever been."
In a sense, there's nothing new under the sun. UFC launched a similar campaign earlier this year, and the few thousand New Yorkers who registered last time won't have to do so again.
Registrants have the option to participate in the campaign in several ways by attending news conferences and events, contacting members of the legislative assembly and by using social media. Those who register will receive a free month's subscription to UFC Fight Pass.
New York enjoys the distinction of being the only place in North America with a ban on professional MMA.