Despite Finding that New York is Misapplying Its MMA Law, Court Dismisses on a Technicality UFC’s lawsuit Challenging the Law
Las Vegas – Judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled on UFC® and other Plaintiffs’ claim that New York’s mixed martial arts (MMA) law is so vaguely written that reasonable people could not understand what it prohibited.
While avoiding ruling on the legality of New York’s MMA statute on technical grounds, the judge advised UFC to “consider filing new vagueness claims.” She said that the Attorney General’s “recent statements that the Ban prohibits sanctioned MMA” were made “despite [the law’s] plain language to the contrary.”
The Court’s decision confirms that New York law allows sanctioned professional MMA and that the AG is wrong in prohibiting it. UFC is a responsible corporate citizen and has chosen not to act contrary to the AG’s position, even though that position is legally unsustainable.
UFC, through the legislative process, has worked for years to have professional MMA legalized in New York, as it is in every other state in the nation. New York’s law was passed in 1997, when MMA was in its infancy and lacked the safety regulations that the UFC has introduced over the last decade.
The poorly written law, as interpreted by the State Athletic Commission, prohibits professional MMA, but allows (without State regulation) martial arts events that combine martial arts styles, like K-1 and Muay Thai. Also the law – which the AG conceded in this lawsuit does not prohibit amateur MMA – leaves amateur MMA wholly unregulated, a fact the Association Boxing Commissioners have condemned.
UFC and the Plaintiffs are considering all options, including an appeal of the decision and the Court’s suggestion that they file new claims challenging the law.
The plaintiffs are being represented in this action by Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and Jamie A. Levitt of Morrison & Foerster LLP in New York.
UFC® is the premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization and largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Headquartered in Las Vegas with offices in London, Toronto, Singapore and Sao Paulo, UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe. UFC programming is broadcast in 129 countries and territories to nearly 800 million TV households worldwide in 28 different languages. The UFC has a multi-year broadcast agreement with FOX in the U.S., which annually includes four live events broadcast on the FOX network, as well as The Ultimate Fighter® reality television show and thousands of hours of programming on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. In 2014, UFC launched UFC FIGHT PASS®, a digital subscription service with exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content. The UFC organization also licenses over 100 UFC GYM® locations, and owns UFC.TV® (offering live event broadcasts and video on-demand around the world), UFC FIT® (an in-home fitness and nutrition program), UFC Magazine, and has a videogame franchise with EA SPORTS, UFC Fight Club®, UFC Fan Expo®, UFC branded apparel, DVDs and Blu-rays and Topps Trading Cards. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter and Instagram: @UFC.