Connecticut Moves Towards MMA Sanctioning

Legislation has been introduced in the state of Connecticut to sanction mixed martial arts.

State representative Matt Lesser recently introduced the proposal and testified before the state legislature's Public Safety Committee. UFC vice president of government and regulatory affairs Marc Ratner also attended and spoke at a recent hearing at the state capitol.

The bill would regulate the sport while taxing ticket revenue. According to the proposal, five percent of an event's gross receipts would be paid to the state.

While the 27-year-old Lesser introduced the bill, it is co-sponsored by state senator Paul Doyle and state rep Mary Mushinsky.

Next up in the process is a vote by the Public Safety Committee, which is yet unscheduled but expected in the next few weeks.

Ironically, mixed martial arts shows have taken place in the state for years. Bellator has run three events in the state over the last two years and is scheduled to run another on April 2, and even the UFC produced an event there as recently as Oct. 2005. Because of tribal sovereignty, Connecticut's two major Native American reservations have hosted events with no presence from state government. Both tribes do have their own in-house commissions.

If Connecticut were to pass MMA sanctioning, New York, Vermont and West Virginia would be the final holdouts among states with athletic commissions who do not regulate the sport. All three states, however, are considering legislation relating to the sport.

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