The New York state senate may be unable to pass bills for marriage equality or transgender rights, but the closely divided body managed to pass a bill to legalize mixed martial arts on Wednesday.
According to The Wall Street Journal, simple economics persuaded senators to approve the bill by a vote of 32-26. Some called the sport promoted by Ultimate Fighting Championship barbaric, but events could generate millions in revenue.
"Earlier this year, Gov. Paterson included a provision in his budget proposal to legalize the sport, which has been banned in the state since the late 1990s," reported the Journal. "But the state's ongoing budget negotiations -- coupled with some reservations by lawmakers -- seemed to have made passage unlikely, at least during the budget process."
The bill awaits approval by the state assembly.
Known for sweaty, man-on-man action, mixed martial arts has experienced a difficult relationship with the gay community at times, with fighter and actor "Rampage" Jackson referring to acting as "kind of gay" in recent weeks. Last year, UFC president Dana White used antigay and misogynistic slurs when speaking to a reporter, but then reached out to reassure gay fans they are welcome in the sport.