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SportsMixed Martial Arts

Legalization of MMA overcomes small hurdle in New York State Legislature

Eddie

Eddie "Truck" Gordon works a full-time job, raises his two sons and is a professional MMA fighter. Newsday tells the story of how this Freeport resident went from a 300-pound former college football player to the winner of Season 19 of the UFC's "Ultimate Fighter." (Credit: Newsday / Jeffrey Basinger, Mario Gonzalez, Mark La Monica) Photo Credit: Newsday/Jeffrey Basinger

The bill to legalize mixed martial arts in New York passed through the State Senate's finance committee on Wednesday, as expected.

According to a source, the vote was 29-8 in favor of lifting the ban on professional MMA events. It could go to the floor of the Senate for a vote as early as next week. Support for the bill is strong in the State Senate, where it has passed by a wide margin each of the past five years.

Amateur MMA remains legal in New York and unsanctioned and unregulated by the state's athletic commission. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph A. Griffo (R-Rome), seeks to legalize MMA and have it be sanctioned and regulated by the commission just as boxing is.

Opposition to the bill has come in the State Assembly in past years. However, new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was a sponsor of the MMA bill in past years. He since has removed his name as a sponsor on all bills after replacing Sheldon Silver as Speaker. The Assembly's companion bill, sponsored by Joseph A. Morelle (D-Rochester), has 64 sponsors on it as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the legislative body's website. A simple Assembly majority -- 76 votes -- is all that is needed to pass a bill.

New York is the only state that continues to ban the sport.

New York Sports