Gov. David Paterson said he may seek repeal of the state’s 1997 ban on ultimate fighting because taxes on ticket sales and other revenues could help cover the state’s $7.5 billion projected budget deficit for 2010-11.
“Ultimate fighting is something we are considering,” Paterson said yesterday.
Supporters, including Upper East Side Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, estimate that each mixed martial arts event could result in $11.5 million for New York City. The sport has proven profitable through ticket sales and pay-per-view broadcasts.
Since former Gov. George Pataki branded the sport barbaric and banned it, proponents say the sport has improved its safety regulations.
Despite the uproar in the 1990s, when bloody cage matches led Sen. John McCain to call the sport “human cockfighting,” 42 states now allow ultimate fighting matches.
“Ultimate fighting has become much more widespread and much more popular” since New York’s ban, said David Birdsell of Baruch College. “There’s likely a greater level of popular acceptance.”