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Optimism rises for MMA's legalization

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For five years straight, legislation for the legalization of professional Mixed Martial Arts has passed in the New York State Senate only to die in the Assembly. The biggest opponent to the bill has been former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver's recent legal troubles have cost him his position as speaker and Assembly Carl Heastie has taken his place. Heastie has co-sponsored the MMA bill in the past. With Silver out and Heastie in, supporters of the MMA legislation are just about jumping for joy, although cautiously optimistic.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, (D)-123rd District, has also sponsored the bill and will continue to sponsor the bill in the future. She still says she doesn't like the sport, but supports the legislation.

"People are just turned off by the violence of it," Lupardo says. "I'm not a fan of MMA personally, but we're the only state that doesn't allow these sanctioned matches. From my point of view, if we can regulate the entire sport including the amateur matches as well, it will help improve the sport's development in our state. But also, help us develop the revenue that other states are getting."

The Democratic Conference is expected to meet later in the year to decide whether or not the MMA legislation should be brought to a vote on the Assembly floor.