New York moved closer this month to legalizing mixed martial arts (MMA) fights in the state, when the state Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Development approved a bill that would grant the New York State Athletic Commission regulatory powers over the sport.
Marc Ratner, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Ultimate Fighting Championship—MMA’s largest organization—said in a statement: “We look forward to the next step in the regulatory process and a continued dialogue with legislators. We remain very excited about the prospect of coming to New York.”
The committee voted 14-6 to send the bill to the full Assembly, which will vote on it before the current legislative session ends. Last year, the bill was killed in the committee by a single vote.
Supporters of the bill point toward increased revenues for the state if the sport is legalized. The state stands to make money from a surcharge on ticket sales and a tax on broadcasting rights by imposing an 8.5 percent tax on ticket receipts with no cap and a 3 percent tax on broadcasting rights with a $50,000 cap.
In an impact study commissioned by the UFC, it was estimated that an event in upstate New York would generate approximately $5.2 million, while an event in New York City would generate $11.3 million for the local economy.
Bringing MMA bouts to New York could be a boon to area ticket brokers, due to the sport’s growing popularity. One broker, who offers tickets to events in the New York Metropolitan Area, believes the allowing the sport in the state would further cement New York’s reputation for offering world class entertainment.
“We believe the addition of this sport to the local market will keep fans supporting the local economy. New York is the entertainment capital of the world. With the addition of this sport we can remain the most comprehensive location for all live events,” he told TicketNews.