Report: MMA bill in New York could be pushed through State Assembly this week

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The overlong wait to lift the ban on mixed martial arts in New York may finally come to an end this year (deja vu), with Vice’s Fightland reporting that the Democratic Conference of the New York State Assembly is finally expected to push a bill through to the floor for a vote.

After the NY State Senate passed legalization bills in each of the last several years, the bills died in the Assembly’s many committees, never getting to a vote. However, citing sources in Albany, the Fightland report suggests that this year’s bill could be pushed to the Assembly floor for a vote before the end of the week.

“The members of the conference will meet tonight,” one source said. “The leadership will tell members that the votes to approve are there and that it’s time to move through the bill committee. There are still members of the conference who are opposed to the bill, but once it’s clear we have the overwhelming majority they won’t stand in its way. We don’t expect much discussion.”

There are several steps beyond the Assembly vote, but it’s the one hurdle which has killed the bill year after year. Should it finally be approved, Governor Andrew Cuomo would be expected to sign it into law, and after the law is finally enacted – and the NY State Athletic Commission given time to establish protocols for regulating MMA – then the UFC will finally be able to run in the state.

Penick’s Analysis: Hopes have gotten up year after year, so it’s still too early to celebrate, but this is as encouraging a report as we’ve gotten on the push to finally lift the ban put in place in the late ’90s. After the planned April date was scrapped, the UFC is expected to target November for an event at Madison Square Garden. If things go smoothly this week, the timing would certainly work out well to make that happen, and we’ll get another major destination event for the UFC in 2016.

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