The New York State Senate this afternoon passed legislation to legalize mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions in the state.

 

MMA is legal in 47 other U.S. states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but has long been illegal in New York, as opponents say the sport is too dangerous, and it faces heavy opposition from the state's boxing lobby.

 

But since 2001, many new rules have been put in place to regulate the sport, including medical testing and safety requirements.

 

Supporters say a UFC event held in New York City would generate $11.5 million in net economic activity, as well as create jobs.

 

The bill needs to be approved by the Assembly and finally Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said he doesn't think there's "a groundswell of support" and he has mixed feelings on MMA, according to the AP.