Former champ Chris Weidman and lawmakers push for legal mixed martial arts in New York
Jan 27, 2016 06:39 AM EST
Chris Weidman, an ex- mixed martial arts champion told reporters at the state Capitol on Tuesday in Albany, New York that he wants to have his title back. And he even insisted that he wants to fight in New York even though mixed martial arts is banned in the city.
The Long Island native, who is alongside the lawyers stated that he desires to fight in Madison Square Garden, which is a short train ride away for fans and fellow fighters who train at the Garden City gym to be present at the event. Moreover, Republican Senator Joseph Griffo claimed that the Senate will vote again to make the sport legal this year.
"I want to congratulate everybody for being here because it's probably a historic event. It's going to be the last time that we come here to lobby for MMA," Weidman told reporters and legislators at the Capitol in Albany via ABC NEWS. He continued by stating, "The next time we'll be actually fighting here."
Right after the fighter made a comment, lawmakers backed up his statement. "It makes no sense why New York is the last place in North America, not only the United States, even the provinces of Canada allow the sport," stated Griffo via CBS New York. He added, "So I'm hopeful that we'll get this accomplished and New Yorkers now can spectate or participate in something that is taking place across our country."
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, a Democrat, then stated that they're getting "very close" to having enough Assembly votes to pass the legislation to legalize the sport in New York. He claimed that they had a majority of sponsors at the end of last year, but there was a logistical concern with a number of members away from the Capitol.
"My goal is to make sure this is done, regulated and enacted," said Morelle. And if they persuade enough sponsors and if the Assembly Democratic Conference backs the sponsors, then the bill could pass quickly.
In the past, assembly critics blocked the bill, claiming that mix martial arts composed of boxing, kick boxing, and jiu-jitsu is such an aggressive sport. They also initially included the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, which was replaced as leader last year following his corruption charges.
Amateur MMA fighters train and even compete in New York. Morelle's legislation would place all combat sports under the jurisdiction of the New York State Athletic Commission that now monitors the pro boxing or other authorized sanctioning body, as reported by Herald Courier.
This would also mean that the required insurance for fighters will heighten and this will authorize a group of state authorities to recommend a funding method for long-term care of these MMA fighter who developed generative brain problems from the injuries they suffer during their fights.
For now, Weidman cannot promise that the sport would not be as violent as it is, but it is just the same as any other sport like football and cheerleading that require physical contact. He insisted that what needs to be done is proper regulation of the sport. As of the moment, UFC is getting excited as the legalization of the sport will bring more promoters, meaning thousands of fans and money.