Mixed martial arts took another step toward global acceptance on Wednesday when legislators in Canada and the state of Connecticut independently legalized the sport.
The Connecticut MMA bill was initially passed by the state’s House of Representatives last month and was subsequently referred to the Senate, where it passed today by a vote of 26-9, according to a report from the Connecticut Post. The bill will now be sent to Gov. Dannel Malloy for final approval.
The vote leaves just one U.S. state in which MMA is still illegal: New York. Today’s result means that Connecticut venues such as the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport and Hartford’s XL Center can now play host to major MMA players like the UFC and Bellator. MMA bouts in Connecticut have previously only been held at Native American casinos like Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
North of the border, the Canadian House of Commons passed a bill to legalize combat sports including karate, taekwondo and MMA across the entire country in a landslide vote of 267-9. The Canadian Criminal Code previously considered boxing the only acceptable form of prizefighting, a consequence of the passage’s wording, which was last updated in 1934. Despite the narrow wording in the Criminal Code, several Canadian provinces have already regulated MMA under local authority, including British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
The UFC will make its first trip to Manitoba on June 15, when UFC 161 goes down from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. That bill is headlined by a light heavyweight showdown between Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans and will also see Roy Nelson collide with Stipe Miocic in a heavyweight co-headliner. The UFC has visited Canada 12 times over the last five years, holding six shows in Montreal.