Tuesday, March 22nd was a huge day for the sport of MMA.
Thanks to the passing of a bill through the New York State Assembly, a ban on the sport that has endured for almost two decades is set to be lifted. The vote was a landslide in favour of legalisation, with 113 members of the assembly voting to clear MMA’s passage into the state in the face of opposition from only 25 dissenters.
All that remains now is for Governor Andrew Cuomo, a member of the Democratic party currently serving his second term in office, to sign-off on the bill. He is expected to do so.
Once this happens, the blossoming combat sport will be legal in all 50 states.
It’s a development that opens up one of the country’s biggest markets to MMA promoters, something which has unsurprisingly delighted the higher powers in the sport’s biggest organisations.
Thank You NY State Legislature! We are one step closer to making MMA a reality in New York! #MMA4NY
— Lorenzo Fertitta (@lorenzofertitta) March 22, 2016
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) March 22, 2016
— danawhite (@danawhite) March 22, 2016
More importantly perhaps, it adds legitmacy to a sport that still has many detractors and continues to somewhat struggle with image issues.
Mma is legit now!
— Rumble Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) March 22, 2016
Best of all, this will mean a great deal to members of New York’s MMA community.
The Serra-Longo Fight Team is one of the best in the world and has been for many years. Currently training at the facility under the tutelage of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and Ray Longo is former middleweight king Chris Weidman, bantamweight standout Aljamain Sterling and highly-regarded lightweight Al Iaquinta. The team’s base camp is set up on New York’s Long Island.
Though the facility has consistently produced top-class talent, the fighters have not been able to compete in the same state in which they live and train.
This was the joyous reaction at the gym when the news broke that legalisation is imminent….
I've waited a long time for today and couldn't be more excited to have MMA legal in my hometown of New York!! pic.twitter.com/uoxIpPbcQ4
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) March 22, 2016
What a great day! Stand up MMA fighters, ppl who train MMA, fans and everyone that supports us in NY! We are finally Legal! 🙌😎 #feelsgood
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) March 23, 2016
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) March 23, 2016
It also creates the possibility that MMA fighters will finally have the opportunity to compete at one of the world’s most iconic arenas – Madison Square Garden.
New York has legalized MMA. I know a lot of fighters have dreams of fighting at #MadisonSquareGarden I think this will become a reality.
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) March 22, 2016
The first UFC event in NYC is expected to take place later this year.
— Paddy Holohan (@PaddyHolohanMMA) March 23, 2016
New York, New York! Happy days Irish MMA fans, a lot shorter trip than Vegas ❤ let's do this!!
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) March 22, 2016
MMA is finally Legalized in the state of New York 😁🙌🏽
— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) March 22, 2016
Bill passes. A crying shame that a major fight card hasn't happened at MSG. Catch wrestling did 100yrs ago, it can now return. #MMAinNYC
— Shayna Baszler (@QoSBaszler) March 22, 2016
— Joe Ellenberger (@JoeEllenberger) March 23, 2016
Jay Z said it best "concrete jungle where dreams are made…big lights will inspire you,let's hear it for New York!Here we come MSG #MMA4NY
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) March 22, 2016
— Ryan LaFlare (@RLaFlare) March 22, 2016
— Matt Mitrione (@mattmitrione) March 22, 2016
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) March 22, 2016