Connecticut and all of Canada legalize MMA in separate votes
by Steven Marrocco on Jun 05, 2013 at 5:00 pm ET
marc-ratner.jpgA pair of regulatory hurdles to MMA legalization fell today in North America.
In Connecticut, a bill to legalize MMA passed the senate, clearing the way for events to be held in the state. The bill still requires the signature of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy before the law would go into effect.
North of the border, Canadian legislators amended a law to allow combat sports, including MMA.
The former means that the sport is legal in all but one state in the U.S., while the latter bolsters legislation previously left to provinces within Canada.
) confirmed the passage of HB05277, which legalizes MMA in Connecticut, via the state's general assembly website, though a vote count was not available.
A report from the Canadian Press said the new law in Canada passed with 267 in favor and only nine opposed. Prior to the passage, combat sports were technically illegal, though provincial governments passed their own legislation to allow promotions such as the UFC and Bellator to hold events within their territories.
It had been over 70 years since Canada had amended their rules on prizefighting, according to the report.
The industry-leading UFC has promoted over a dozen fight cards in the country with several sellouts. UFC President Dana White previously has called Canada the mecca for MMA.
"We are laying the groundwork for the general acceptance of these sports across the country," said bill sponsor Massimo Pacetti, a member of the country's Liberal party, during a debate before an official vote.
In Connecticut, MMA events often were promoted on Indian reservations, where they operated outside of state oversight.
Proponents of legalization spoke of the fiscal benefit brought by holding MMA events in the state and said those concerned about the sport's violence should support greater regulation.
UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner could not be reached for comment on today's news, but tweeted, "[New York] is the last holdout and we'll get there too!"
UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta also tweeted, "Bridgeport here we come!!!" to news of Connecticut's move. The city's most prominent venue is the 10,000-seat Webster Bank Arena.
New York now is the only state where MMA remains illegal. UFC officials are actively working to lift the ban, though White has given up on a timetable for legalization.