Former New York Governor George Pataki, one of the driving forces behind the state banning mixed martial arts in 2001, has reversed his position and now supports legalizing a sport he now considers safe.
“With more rigorous oversight, training and medical requirements – mixed martial arts has made considerable strides to ensure the safety of participants,” said Pataki spokesman David Catalfamo.
“With these measures in mind, Gov. Pataki would be supportive of allowing the sport in New York in today,” said Catalfamo.
Pataki becomes the latest in a series of high-profile politicians to support the legalization of mixed martial arts in the state. Current New York Governor David Paterson is an ardent supporter of the move to legalize the sport, and plans to include a call to officially sanction the sport in his impending budget proposal.
The effort to sanction the sport in New York should ultimately open up the UFC’s most desired market and venue: New York City and Madison Square Garden. If the sanctioning efforts are successful, look for Zuffa to immediately announce a 2010 show at The Garden.