New York on verge of legalizing mixed martial arts

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 23 Maret 2015 | 20.49

Let's get ready to pummel.

Legislators in Albany are "very close" to making a deal that would permit mixed martial arts in New York state, according to a source close to the budget negotiations.

"Everyone is on board," a source said about the deal.

The law is likely to be included in the state budget, which needs to be ironed out in the coming weeks, according to sources.

Gov. Cuomo had hinted that the controversial sport would be a welcome addition to bring economic development to upstate areas after he banned fracking.

"This is a big sport, and it's growing," Cuomo said earlier this month. "It can create jobs and economic growth in the state of New York — and I'm interested in it."

His fracking decision was derided in small towns in the Southern tier, some of which threatened to secede from the state and join Pennsylvania.

Dana White, president of MMA's promotional company UFC, was optimistic about the progress in Albany last week during a visit to the city.

"We've been fighting for this for years, and I mean really fighting hard to get MMA in New York City," White told The Post.

"This has been a long time coming."

White said the UFC had sent lawyers to the capital in an effort to finalize a deal and that disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was the "last obstacle."

UFC officials have long been suspicious of Silver and his alleged ties to interests in Las Vegas.

"The UFC has been forced to go to New Jersey for a long time now because of this, and that's 100 percent because of corruption," MMA commentator Joe Rogan said last month.

"Now that this crook is out of the political picture, we may finally see the UFC in New York."

Speaker Carl Heastie is a supporter of the sport and has co-sponsored legislation to legalize it in the past.

The legislation will need to be part of a larger agreement that includes contentious issues such as ethics reform, and tax credits for private schools.

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