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.
— The People’s MMA (@ThePeoplesMMA) April 14, 2016
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.
— UFC World (@UFCWorldNews) April 14, 2016
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.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 14, 2016
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.