Malloy signs bill legalizing mixed-martial arts

He doesn’t like the sport, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not going to block mixed-martial arts contests from being staged in Connecticut. Without comment, the governor signed a legalization bill into law Thursday.

Signing the bill ends a political odyssey that had little to do with violence and everything to do with politics and labor unions.

Democratic leaders in the state Senate had blocked legalization for years at the request of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. One of  the major mixed-martial arts promoters, UFC, has common ownership with a casino chain in Las Vegas that has resisted unionization.

“We are appreciative of Gov. Malloy signing the bill to legalize mixed-martial arts into law,” said Lorenzo Fortitta, the chairman and chief executive officer of UFC. “Our thanks go to our legislative sponsors and supporters, and to all the fans and advocates who made this happen. UFC looks forward to coming to Glover Teixeira’s home state of Connecticut.”

Teixeira is a top-ranked UFC fighter who lives in Danbury. He testfied in support of the legislation.

Legislators from Bridgeport and Hartford sought legalization, saying it would bring more business to arenas in their cities. Matches have been staged at the state’s two tribal resort casinos, which did not require the legislation.

Malloy now has signed 297 bills and vetoed six.