Here’s the expanded version of my story from today’s paper:
The Connecticut state Legislature gave final approval yesterday to a bill to legalize mixed martial arts, an act that could soon make New York the last state where the popular — but violent — sport is still outlawed.
The Connecticut Senate overwhelmingly passed the measure 26-9 following a previous vote by the House of Representatives.
The bill will soon go to Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy whose spokeswoman would say only that “the governor will review this bill carefully when it gets to his desk.”
In New York, the state Senate has repeatedly passed a bill to legalize the controversial sport only to see it die in the Assembly.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said he expects the bill will eventually pass his house, but hasn’t said if this is the year.
Sources have said this year is unlikely, particularly given strong opposition from women’s groups and key female legislators close to Silver who are still upset over his handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.
The Assembly Democratic majority next week is set to discuss whether allow the bill tot he floor for a vote before the legislative session ends.
“I know New York likes to think of itself as a leader but when it comes to the fastest growing sport in the nation, New York is now the only outlier,” said Lorenzo Feritta, head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship league.
BY KEN LOVETT