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Ronda Rousey heads to Albany to push for legalization of MMA in New York

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The UFC women's bantamweight champion will visit Albany this week and speak with Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the State Assembly to push for MMA becoming legal in the Empire State.

Esther Lin/MMAFighting

Ronda Rousey will be heading up to Albany this week to speak with State Assembly members and join the push for mixed martial arts (MMA) to become legal in New York.

Rousey, 28, will be on The View on Monday afternoon (March 23, 2015) and on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday evening, where she will be promoting Furious 7, which will be released on April 3, 2015.

The women's fight icon and budding actress always has a busy schedule, but she wanted to squeeze in a trip to the State Capital while she was in New York and speak in support of MMA becoming legal there.

"I really want to make this a priority during my visit to New York," Rousey told the New York Daily News. "It's pretty much ridiculous that MMA is not regulated here."

There has been some widespread optimism--more than most in recent years--due to the recent indictment of former Assembly leader Sheldon Silver on corruption charges. Silver has refused to let the bill to legalize MMA get to the Assembly floor for a vote and has been one of the sports biggest road blocks. The man who took his place, Carl Heastie, has co-sponsored the bill in years past and with him now leading the Assembly, many supporters feel the bill will at least get a fair chance for a vote.

"I'd be surprised if the bill wouldn't pass this year," said Rousey, who will fight next at UFC 190 against Bethe Correia on August 1st. "I have a huge sense of optimism this year."

Bill No.S2159 has passed through the State Senate committee for Cultural Affairs, Tourism, and Parks and Recreation with a 9-4 vote. It next heads to the the Finance Committee, where it has passed through in years past without issue. Should it get the nod there, it would then head to the senate for a vote. The bill hasn't had any issue passing through the Senate the last several years either and should make it's way to the Assembly, where it has continuously met its demise before ever receiving a vote.

Rousey will sit down with Governor Andrew Cuomo and said she seeks to speak with Heastie and other Assembly members also. Should the sport become legal, the UFC champion spoke of her desire to fight in "The World's Most Famous Arena."

"I think Madison Square Garden is such an iconic thing," Rousey said. "I always wanted to have that opportunity. Your shelf life is short. I'd hate to see the bill pass after I've already retired."