Mixed martial arts is now officially legal in New York. MMA was banned in 1997 in NY. But now thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed the bill into law, MMA is back in NY.
“Welcome to New York, we’re glad to have you,” Cuomo said at the signing, reports FOX Sports.
The ceremony held at Madison Square Garden on Thursday was attended by UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman. Fertitta also announced that the first card in New York will be held at Madison Square Garden on Nov 12.
“We’ve been working on Nov. 12 now for about a month or two,” Fertitta said. “Getting a date at MSG is no easy deal. I mean, this is one of the busiest arenas in the world, obviously. So we were able to get that date, we said do it, lock it in, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”
Without revealing much, Fertitta hinted that Ronda Rousey might fight when UFC makes its debut on Nov 12.
“It’s certainly a possibility (Ronda Rousey is on the card),” Fertitta told MMA Fighting. “Nothing has been determined yet. We’ll kind of see what happens. I can tell you that whatever card we do bring, it will be massive. It’ll be a big card with our biggest names.”
He also said that a title fight will happen.
Now with MMA being legal, the New York State Athletic Commission has 120 days to ratify a set of rules governing MMA in the state. Only then, promoters can begin booking shows. Several UFC fighters are from New York including light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman and top-rated bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling.
A vote was held in the state assembly last March to legalize the sport. Despite many protests, the bill passed with a majority of 113-25 votes.