Bill to legalize MMA moves past New York State Senate to state Assembly

Jose Aldo connects with a left to Frankie Jose Aldo connects with a left to Frankie Edgar during their UFC 156 featherweight title match at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Aldo won by unanimous decision. (Feb. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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ALBANY - Make that four in a row for the New York State Senate and the bill to legalize mixed martial arts.

Once again, the state Senate voted in favor of allowing professional MMA fights -- and the ensuing revenue -- in New York, this time by a vote of 47-14.

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Once again, however, it remains up to the state Assembly as to whether MMA fans and fighters from New York can stop traveling to New Jersey and beyond to watch or perform. The bill has stalled in different Assembly committees each of the past four years and never reached the floor for a full vote.

"At some point there probably will be an approval in this state," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told reporters in Albany Wednesday morning. "I can't tell you when."

Professional MMA bouts remain illegal in New York State, although amateur MMA events are perfectly legally. They are also unregulated by New York State's athletic commission. The bill seeks to legalize professional MMA bouts and to have all such events regulated by the NYSAC.

"It's a sport that is actually safer than boxing, and there's a tremendous amount of public interest in it," said Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), one of the bill's co-sponsors. "It would bring in a lot of revenue and economic development to the state that we are losing out to other states. We're hoping the Assembly will seriously consider the bill and bring it up for a vote."

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