The Legislature is divided over the prospect of including MMA in New York States. MMA is currently sanctioned in all but five states. The remaining are New York, Vermont and Connecticut, though New York and Connecticut have legislation pending. West Virginia accepted MMA sanctioning in March of this year and neither Alaska nor Wyoming has an Athletic Commission which is why they are unsanctioned.

The debate over MMA in New York is long standing following its ban in 1997. It was referred to by then Governor George Pataki as “barbaric,” and has yet to recover from the stigma. Many changes have occurred in MMA since 1997, the development of rules for starters. It is not the same game it used to be. At the time of the ban the only substantial rules were the exclusion of eye gouging and biting. The rest was fair game. Today’s MMA bouts are radically more civilized with regulated weight classes, pre and post medical examinations, drug testing, and fight regulations.

On May 23, proponents for legalization of the sport in New York made a great strides toward achieving their goal when the Senate Bill (SB 1707A) promoting the issue passed 42-18. The bill was sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo.