By Jonathan Solomon
Mixed martial arts in the United States is now almost universally legalized.
Entering Wednesday, only Connecticut and New York had bans on professional MMA from taking place. As reported by MMAOnline.com, last month, the House of Representatives in Hartford voted to legalize the sport and passed the bill to their counterparts..
Today, on the final day of their 2013 legislative calendar, the state Senate voted 26-9 and passed the bill as well.
Now, the bill heads to Governor Dan Malloy who will either sign it into law or veto the measure.
While there are no public comments from Malloy discussing his thoughts on the issue of legalization, he is expected to sign the bill after it passed in both legislative bodies.
Once signed into law, amateur and professional MMA will be under the same regulation as boxing in the state. Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection would assume authority over the sport. It will take a yet to be determined amount of time for the agency to hire and train the necessary referees, judges and other necessary elements that go into sanctioning and regulating a sport for the first time.
Additionally, the bill will require that all fighters be checked out by a physician to deem them physically fit before competing.
When Marc Ratner, UFC Vice President of Regulator Affairs, heard the news, he tweeted, “Connecticut becomes the 49th state to legalize MMA, NY is the last holdout and we’ll get there too!”
CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, also sent out this message upon learning of the vote, “We are officially passed in the Connecticut senate!!! #mmact Bridgeport here we come!!!”
The sport may also be on its way towards legalization in the final remaining state, New York. According to a report from CBS Albany reporter Pat Bailey, the bill in the state Assembly “will go before the full democratic conference ‘in the next week or so.’” Needing only 12 additional supporters to join the 64 sponsors, Speaker Sheldon Silver will see whether there is enough support before bringing the bill to a formal vote. Only eight legislative days remain in Albany, four between June 10-13 and the final series between June 17-20.
With an entire new state eligible to hold shows, companies such as the UFC and Bellator, not to mention locally-based promoters will be quick to begin establishing their live event business in Connecticut as soon as possible.
What are your thoughts?