An amended bill to legalize mixed martial arts passed through the New York State Senate on Tuesday night.
The vote was 49-13, up from the 47-14 vote when the bill first passed in the Senate last March before being amended earlier this week.
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In order for New York to become the 50th state to legalize the sport, the State Assembly must pass the bill in the very near future. The legislative session is scheduled to end Wednesday, but it is possible that it will be extended a day or two.The History of MMA and New YorkMMA in New York: A timeline of events
The bill would need 76 votes in the Assembly in order to pass and be sent to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his signature. Gov. Cuomo has made positive statements about legalizing the sport in the past three years.
For the past six years, the State Senate voted in favor of legalizing MMA only to see it stall in one Assembly committee or another.
"It's watched by millions around the world and will be a massive boost to our tourism industry," Assemb. Dean Murray (R-E. Patchogue) said in a statement earlier this week. "It's passed the Senate for years. The Assembly must follow suit. It's supported by an overwhelming majority in our house. The time to get it done is now."
There are 74 sponsors on the Assembly bill, including Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle (D-Irondequoit) as the primary sponsor. But the Democratic conference, which controls the Assembly with more than 100 members, typically won't move a bill to the floor unless it has enough votes from the majority party to pass the bill on its own.
On Monday, Morelle introduced an amended MMA bill that most notably included the establishment of a health insurance fund to aid fighters who suffer brain injuries from fights in the state.