The latest chapter in the fight to legalize professional mixed martial arts in New York state has begun. The New York Daily News was the first to report that Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has sued New York state to try to get the law overturned judicially. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto also tweeted this:
The UFC announces it has scheduled an event at MSG in NY on April 23, but it's contingent on judge issuing an injunction on state officials.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 28, 2015
In a previous lawsuit against the state, where the UFC was joined by various co-plaintiffs like NY-based fighters and writers/fans, a judge ruled that the UFC would have better standing if they had scheduled a show and the state blocked it. This seems like a step in that direction. Attempts at getting a new law passed have stalled in the State Assembly for procedural reasons.
The lawsuit, filed today in federal court, alleges that the ban “is so badly written that neither ordinary persons nor state officials are able to say with any certainty what it permits and what it prohibits.” The ban was instituted in 1997 after the New York Times tore into the UFC. It was hastily written so that all professional “combative sports” other than boxing would be banned unless governed by one of various bodies named in the bill, including the World Kickboxing Association. The ambiguous wording has allowed for unregulated amateur MMA fights to be held in the state as well as WKA-sanctioned kickboxing. Some have argued the WKA could sanction pro MMA in NY, as they’ve done it in other states and the loophole is there.
We’ve obtained the lawsuit filing and will have more details later.