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Court dismisses UFC's lawsuit challenging New York's ban on mixed martial arts

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If the UFC is to find a way to get New York to legalized professional mixed martial arts (MMA), it will be through the New York State Assembly and not the courts. According to a release issued by UFC Tuesday evening, the UFC's lawsuit against the state's Attorney general has been dismissed.

"Judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled on UFC and other Plaintiffs' claim that New York's mixed martial arts (MMA) law is so vaguely written that reasonable people could not understand what it prohibited," the release says.

"While avoiding ruling on the legality of New York's MMA statute on technical grounds, the judge advised UFC to 'consider filing new vagueness claims.'  She said that the Attorney General's 'recent statements that the Ban prohibits sanctioned MMA' were made 'despite [the law's] plain language to the contrary.' 

"The Court's decision confirms that New York law allows sanctioned professional MMA and that the AG is wrong in prohibiting it. UFC is a responsible corporate citizen and has chosen not to act contrary to the AG's position, even though that position is legally unsustainable."

UFC says it continues to pursue legislative options and may appeal today's ruling.

Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, and co-plaintiffs originally filed the lawsuit in November of 2011. The court has dismissed elements of Zuffa's case, but had not previously ruled on vagueness claims. To further understand what Zuffa alleges about the existing ban on mixed martial arts being vague, you can read the original lawsuit where those arguments are articulated.

"The poorly written law, as interpreted by the State Athletic Commission, prohibits professional MMA, but allows (without State regulation) martial arts events that combine martial arts styles, like K-1 and Muay Thai. Also the law - which the AG conceded in this lawsuit does not prohibit amateur MMA - leaves amateur MMA wholly unregulated, a fact the Association Boxing Commissioners have condemned," UFC says via release.

The UFC and co-plaintiffs are represented by Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and Jamie A. Levitt of Morrison & Foerster LLP in New York.

For a background on the lawsuit, the claims made by the plaintiffs, what they were seeking, what the 'vagueness' claims actually are and more, listen to the interview below with both Friedman and Levitt:

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