Friday’s MMA Event Only Legal Because Fighters Won’t Get Paid

May 15, 2013 | Andy Cush

How do you host a mixed martial arts fight in a state where the sport is effectively banned? Don’t pay your competitors, apparently. Laws regulating MMA in New York only ban professional MMA fighting, apparently for its violence, but amateur fights are totally legal. So if you’re dropping $50-100 at Terminal 5 for tickets to the Victory in NYC MMA event Friday, just know that the fighters won’t be seeing a dime.

Sanctioned fights have been banned since 1997–long before the sport exploded into a national phenomenon–and several attempts to overturn the law have floundered over the years. Governor Cuomo, for his part, is open to changing the rules. “I think we need economic activity, especially in upstate New York,” he said in an interview last month. “I think this is a major endeavor that is televised, that is happening all over the country at this point. You’re not going to stop it from happening. And I’m interested in the potential economic potential for the state.”

(Photo: Andrius Petrucenia /Flickr)