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UFC's Parent Company Zuffa Sues New York State Over 'Unconstitutional' MMA Ban

The parent company of the UFC, Zuffa LLC, has filed a lawsuit in the state of New York alleging that the state's ban on Mixed Martial Arts is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to overturn that state's 1997 law banning mixed martial arts (MMA). The suit is based on an argument that the ban violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

From the filing: "New York's live professional MMA ban violates numerous provisions of the United States Constitution, including the first amendment, equal protection clause, due process clause and commerce clause. The live professional MMA ban limits the liberty of those who would, but for the ban, attend live professional MMA events, as well as those who train in MMA and want to exhibit their skills as professionals before a live crowd. Indeed, for the many New Yorkers who devote endless hours of training in MMA and who cannot afford to displace their homes and families to fight elsewhere, New York's live professional MMA ban presents a serious infringement of their rights."

Zuffa was joined by several current and former UFC fighters including light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, lightweight champion Frankie EdgarGina CaranoMatt Hamill, and Brian Stann

One of Zuffa's attorneys in the case is Barry Friedman,a New York University School of Law professor. Friedman spoke to the Wall Street Journal saying, "This is the first time to my knowledge that a professional athlete is claiming a First Amendment right to communicate with fans in a live event. It's martial artistry. The nature of martial arts is a lot like dancing."

The complete complaint is below:

2011.11.15 Complaint