“You have two nearly naked, hot men, rolling around on top of one another, trying to dominate each other. And just in case you don’t know, that’s gay porn with a different ending.”
Those words came out of the mouth of New York Assemblymember Daniel J. O’Donnell, who was one of the speakers against legalizing mixed martial arts competition in the state of New York last Tuesday. The strange and the ugly was indeed present in Albany’s hearing, but after the rain comes the rainbow and the end result weren’t even close, as the assembly voting ended in a 113-25 bipartisan voting landslide.
The Mixed Martial Arts community can now collectively rejoice as greener pastures can again be found in the Big Apple, as one of the fastest rising sports in the world will finally earn the right to perform in the biggest market in the world. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, and Bellator Mixed Martial Arts promoter, Scott Coker, have already given an indication of holding multiple events this year in places like Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena, New York City’s Madison Square Garden and even Brooklyn’s own Barclays Center.
One of the biggest hurdles standing in the way for the past seven years was former Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, who is currently facing federal corruption charges stemming from November of last year. It also doesn’t hurt that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly pledged support for the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts in New York back in January citing its economic prospects.
The UFC’s last event held in the state of New York was in the fall of 1995 in Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium. Now all that’s left to do is wait for Governor Cuomo’s signature as well as the 120-day period for the New York Athletic Commission to complete its licensing process.
Fighters like UFC’s No.1 pound-for-pound ranked Jon Jones and former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, hail from New York and have been campaigning for the bill for some time now. Then there are the UFC’s current superstars, former women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey and current featherweight champion, Conor McGregor. It’s safe to say they’ll be headlining an event or two in the near future as locals can finally experience first-hand what the world of Mixed Martial Arts is all about.