Working to legalize MMA in New York

By Erika Mahoney

April 27, 2013 Updated Apr 29, 2013 at 9:28 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Since professional mixed martial arts is still banned in New York, Saturday's UFC 159 fight will take place inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

For more than a decade, the legalization of MMA has been a controversial topic in New York.

Bills have passed the Senate the past four years, but then stalled in the Assembly.

In an interview Friday, Endicott native and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones said he believes it's only a matter of time before he can fight in his home state. For now, he will be giving it all in Newark.

As fans prepare for big fight Saturday, many were able to wet their appetites in Binghamton Friday.

Art of Combat 4, an amateur and thus legal event in New York, took over the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

An event organizer said it's events like this that will help the cause of legalizing the sport across the empire state.

"We expect to help legitimize the sport," Jason Porter, Power One MMA, said. "We really are professional in how we conduct things, obviously doing things at the Broome County Arena. So we're going big. We bring in some great fighters. We have fighters coming in from Venezuela, and Canada and other places across the country. So we're hoping that the state looks at it."

In the meantime, all Jon Jones can do is continue to defend his title, so that he could have a title fight in New York sometime in the near future.