MMA Finally Legal in NY: Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Into Law, Making the Empire State Last to Do So

By Dave Martin, Epoch Times
April 14, 2016 Updated: April 14, 2016

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is now officially legal in the state of New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law Thursday in a ceremony at Madison Square Garden.

Former UFC champions Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman were both on hand at the event as Cuomo signed the bill.

Nearly 20 years ago—1997—then-Governor George Pataki banned the relatively new sport. In the nearly two decades since, many regulations have helped spread the sport. The state of New York was the final holdout—until Thursday. The bill passed 113–25 in the state assembly in March.

“Welcome to New York, we’re glad to have you,” Cuomo said at the signing. 

With the sport now legal, the NY State Athletic Commission has 120 days to ratify a set of rules governing the sport in the state before promoters can start booking shows.

UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said, at the signing, that the first card back in New York will be on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden.

A couple well-known UFC fighters are from the New York area, such as former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former middleweight champion Chris Weidman.