Massachusetts governor signs mixed martial arts bill, regulation on its way
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:05 pm ET
Mixed martial arts regulation is finally coming to Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick today signed into law a bill, versions of which were previously approved by the House and Senate, that calls for the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission to become the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission and oversee MMA events.
The move opens the door for the UFC to host a long-anticipated event in Boston.
) could not reach Massachusetts State Boxing Commission officials for clarification on the bill's final details. Massachusetts, for example, may allow individual locales to determine whether or not they want to host MMA events. It's also not known how quickly the state may be ready to begin its regulatory duties.
UFC president Dana White, though, immediately took to Twitter to express his pleasure over the coming state sanctioning.
"I am so excited," White stated. "Words cannot describe. ... [New York] is next!"
The bill allows the state to collect four percent of revenue from ticket sales and two percent from televised events. The governor's official approval of the bill was considered a given.
While a guest on MMAjunkie.com Radio earlier this month, White, a former Bostonian, said the UFC would "absolutely" makes its Boston debut in mid-2010, and he said shows at both Fenway Park and TD Garden (also known as the Boston Garden) are under consideration for the debut show.
Fenway Park, home to MLB's Boston Red Sox, opened in 1912 (with a series of renovations in recent years) and currently seats 37,000 for baseball games. The outdoor venue's seating configuration for an MMA event could fluctuate wildly. The Boston Garden, an indoor venue that is home to the NBA's Boston Celtics and NHL's Boston Bruins, has a maximum capacity of more than 19,000.
"We're not going to do one fight there (in Boston)," White said. "We'll be coming back. You've got Fenway Park and the Garden. It's awesome."
Massachusetts previously hosted MMA events until a recent ban went into effect. (Some shows, though, were still permitted in the state, though promoters had to regulate and hire the proper fight-night personnel for each event.)
Promoter/agent Joe Cavallaro and UFC veteran Kenny Florian were among those who recently campaigned for the new legislation with state officials.
The UFC aggressively targeted New York and Massachusetts this year when legislation was introduced to regulate MMA. New York is inching closer to a similar bill that could open the door for the UFC to host a show in New York City.