A nearly twenty-year ban on mixed martial arts in the state of New York came to an end Thursday when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing the sport.
New York was the last state in the union to have a ban on MMA.
Coinciding with the signing of the bill, UFC announced it would hold an event at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 12.
On Twitter, Governor Cuomo announced the reversal of the ban.
When the bill was passed in March, State Senator Joseph Griffo said legalizing MMA would allow the state to implement safety provisions for the sport's participants.
The ban pushed MMA fighting into underground, unregulated organizations in New York State.
As this competitive fighting continues to grow in popularity all across North America, it made absolutely no sense to maintain New York's status as the only state that bans professional MMA. Fans could watch it anytime on TV or attend the events in other states, and our own up-and-coming fighters would be limited to amateur competitions in New York that did not always guarantee the safest conditions for athletes and spectators. These athletes and their fans deserve better in New York, and I'm glad we can finally give them that opportunity.
In a press release Thursday, the State of New York said, "The bill adds a new first-of-its-kind insurance benefit of $1 million to cover the medical, surgical and hospital costs associated with the treatment of life-threatening brain injuries—a rare event in New York State."
The legislation signed into law was the seventh attempt by the New York State Senate to overturn the MMA ban implemented by then-Governor George Pataki in 1997.