Santabarbara Pushes MMA Legalization in Budget

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) is continuing his push to include language legalizing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in this year’s state budget.

“New York is currently missing out on millions in economic opportunities by being the only state to prohibit professional MMA competitions. By legalizing the sport we could immediately start seeing benefits all over New York, especially upstate, with new tourist attractions, job growth and additional tax revenues,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara. “I’ve seen firsthand the potential of MMA, as amateur bouts and training facilities are extremely popular in our region, which is why I have pushed for this since day one of this session.”

Professional MMA bouts are currently illegal in New York, but amateur matches are common and well attended, and professional matches from other states are as popular on television in New York as NASCAR or men’s college basketball [1]. Legalizing professional competitions would allow the state to regulate the sport, host more matches across the state and grow support industries, such as training facilities.

Upstate venues like the Times Union Center in Albany would be expected to attract at least three major events and small upstate venues could attract more than 60 events each year, leading to an estimated $33 million in economic activity. Additionally, the change is anticipated to grow training centers all over the state, generating $67 million in economic spending by 2017[2].

“Legalizing MMA will be a significant economic boost to all of New York, including the upstate region, attracting tourism dollars, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars in economic activity said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “We can give our state’s economy an immediate jumpstart by joining the rest of the nation and legalizing this sport.”


[1] “Economic Impact of Mixed Martial Arts in New York,” prepared by HR&A Advisors, Inc.

[2] idem