Connecticut House Votes To Lift MMA Ban, Eyeing Tax Revenue From UFC Events
The Connecticut House yesterday “approved a bill to legalize and regulate MMA, including establishing medical and safety standards for professional bouts in the Bridgeport and Hartford arenas,” according to Ken Dixon of the CONNECTICUT POST. The vote came “over the complaints of lawmakers who warned about the primitive violence of hand-to-hand combat.” Lifting the ban could create "hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional tax revenue per year for fight nights” at Webster Bank Arena and XL Center. State Rep. Stephen Dargan said that a 5% tax on MMA bouts “could give the state $350,000 for a single fight night at the XL Center.” However, the bill “may again face stiff opposition in the Senate.” Harbor Yard Sports & Entertainment VP/Operations Charlie Dowd, whose company operates Webster Bank Arena, said that the market “would determine the number of bouts hosted at the nearly 10,000-seat venue” (CONNECTICUT POST, 5/8). State House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey said, “We’re one of only two states in the country that does not regulate the sport, so I think we’re very much out of step [with] where the rest of the country is on this.” Connecticut State Democrats Communications Dir Adam Joseph said members of the group “continue to have concerns regarding the violent nature of mixed martial arts. They are, however, open to discussing the issue” (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/8).