The wait of 19 years has finally come to an end. The sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is finally on the verge of getting legalised in New York, the only State in the United States that saw the sport in bad taste until Tuesday.
The New York State Assembly passed the MMA Bill Tuesday, lifting the ban on professional MMA that had been in place since 1997. It must be noted that although the NY state senate had continuously passed the bill for the last seven years, the NY State Assembly has never voted on legalising the sport.
It is different, however, this time around. The MMA bill required 76 votes from the State Assembly to pass and it passed by a majority vote of 113-25, exceeding expectations. The bill, however, requires the signature of the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, but that is just a mere formality.
"This has been a long time coming," UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta was quoted as saying by ESPN.
"While there are still additional steps that have to occur before professional MMA becomes a reality in New York, I want to assure our fans that if Governor Cuomo signs the bill into law and the [New York] State Athletic Commission puts in place the appropriate regulations, we look forward to hosting our first New York event in the world's most famous arena — Madison Square Garden," he explained.
"We also look forward to scheduling events in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, and Brooklyn. We are excited."
New York houses a host of MMA fighters, including UFC superstars Jon Jones, Chris Weidman, Rashad Evans and Al Iaquinta. The news came as a huge boost to the fighters as they took to Twitter soon enough to express their happiness. #MMA4NY (MMA for NY) was soon trending all over the social media platform.
"Was that really so hard?! [sic]," posted Al Iaquinta.
"Let the "Hey @ufc @danawhite put me on the MSG show" requests begin with me. #UFC #MMANY [sic]," UFC middleweight fighter John Samman wrote.
UFC President Dana White also posted a picture stating his reactions.