Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, D-Lewiston, announced Tuesday legislation he sponsored to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts events in New York has passed the Assembly (A.2604-C). The bill would make New York the final state to authorize professional MMA events and a national leader in protecting the safety and well-being of the sport's athletes.
"Once this legislation is signed into law, we will join the rest of the nation and begin to reap the economic benefits by legalizing this popular sport," Ceretto said. "Professional MMA events will attract tourists, create jobs and generate millions in economic activity."
The Assembly bill would modernize the state's laws governing combative sports, giving the New York State Athletic Commission authority to regulate MMA, as well as boxing, wrestling and kickboxing events. The Department of State would also be tasked with researching new ways to improve event safety and provide adequate health care for fighters during and after their careers.
To further protect athlete safety, event promoters would be required to provide at least $50,000 in accident insurance coverage for competitions. In addition, they would have to provide fighters with a separate insurance benefit of at least $1 million for the treatment of life-threatening brain injuries.
MMA has gained popularity in recent years, and today, fights regularly sell out large venues such as the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino, which is part of a sovereign nation and not covered by the current New York state ban.
This bill expands the economic opportunities presented by MMA without losing sight of the importance of regulating the sport in a smart and responsible way, Ceretto noted.