MMA Rally for New York Legalization
It's all over television and considered one of the hottest sports in the country; but, competitions still can't be held in New York. The Empire State remains the only state in the nation that still has a ban on professional mixed martial arts, which includes large events like those from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The NYS Legislature passed a law banning mixed martial arts from competing in the state 17-years-ago, and lawmakers say the sport has changed a great deal since the law was passed. Now, there are two versions of a bill in New York that are pending: one will open the door on MMA and one will close it.
"It's a much more regulated sport today," State Senator Joe Griffo told First News with Keeler in the Morning recently. Griffo joined Assemblyman Joseph Morelle of Rochester (Originally from the Utica area) and MMA supporters at Tuesday's rally. The Senate passed a bill legalizing the sport last year; but, it remains stuck in the Assembly.
The competing bill in the Assembly is sponsored by MMA opponents, Assemblyman Denny Farrell and State Senator Brad Hoylman. That bill, in all likelihood, would prevent professional Mixed Martial Arts competitions from happening in New York.
The ban hasn't stopped some promoters from holding smaller amateur events around the state.
New Hartford promoter and restauranteur Frank Cristiano is holding an amateur MMA event at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on March 1st. Cristiano says they are able to run the event in New York because it's amateur and there's no governing body in New York for amateurs. The ban specifically covers professional events.
Battleground 3 will feature regional, national and international fighters. The event features four title fights and $35 tickets are now on sale.