The sport of mixed-martial arts (“MMA”) continues to grow wildly in popularity. It boasts an avid and involved fan base and is widely available and watched on television. Yet, professional MMA events are banned in New York State. New York State is one of the last remaining bastions in MMA’s quest for legitimacy, regulation, and inclusion in mainstream culture. In each of the last several years, the New York State Senate has passed a bill that would legalize MMA in New York, but each time, the bill is blocked from reaching the floor of the State Assembly. The reasons for the continuing ban on live professional events in New York can be distilled down to: the risk of participant injury, a potentially dangerous or wrong message delivered to “our youth” and the “effect upon youth”, as well as the “civilization” and the “disgust” factor (see Jones v. Schneiderman, 888 F Supp (2d) 421 (NY Dist Ct 2013), Defendant’s Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Initial Limited Motion to Dismiss the Fourth and Fifth Causes of Action in the Complaint at 7-8).
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on June 15, 2014. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Ross, Sara, "Legalizing MMA: Mixed-Martial Arts, New York State, and Strategic Litigation" (2014). AELJ Blog. 48.