(Watch your back, Bob Reilly. Your evil empire is crumbling before your eyes.)
It looks like just three of the last four hold-out states reluctant to sanction mixed martial arts are left standing with their arms interlocked in protest against the sport. West Virginia has now given in and agreed that MMA is a legitimate sport if regulated properly by a competent commission under the Unified Rules.
With West Virginia now on board, the only three states dragging their collective heels are Connecticut, Vermont and New York, but progress is being made in at least one of those centers. The New York Senate Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation passed New York Senate Bill S01707A on March 15 and its expected that the bill will go directly to full Senate as vote, which could mean that if all goes well, the sport could be greenlit in the Empire State before the end of the year.
UFC president Dana White said today that the news of West Virginia’s “yes” vote was a long time coming.
“We’ve worked hard to get this sport regulated all over the world, particularly in the United States,” White said. “I’m really excited to see the sport regulated in West Virginia and look forward to one day bringing a UFC event there.”
West Virginia native and former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles who now fights in the UFC echoed White’s sentiments.
“All of my friends and family in West Virginia always ask when they’re going to get to see me fight in my home state,” Bowles said. “Now that the sport is regulated there, I am excited to know that I could one day compete in the Octagon in West Virginia.”