Connecticut lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to lift the state's ban on mixed martial arts, which features a mix of fighting disciplines.
The bill, which would legalize and regulate the sport, was passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives 117-to-26.
Democratic Rep. Stephen Dargan of West Haven said the sporting events would generate revenues for the entertainment industry in Connecticut cities. Currently, fights are only allowed at the state's Indian-run casinos.
Norwalk Republican Rep. Lawrence Cafero said lawmakers concerned about the sport's promotion of violence should support its regulation. He said "without this bill, we have no say in this sport."
Democratic Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey said MMA events could have a big economic impact on areas that hold them.
"MMA attracts large crowds like basketball games and concerts, and cities that host events will get a solid economic punch on fight nights." Sharkey said. "I see no reason why Connecticut should not start reaping the economic benefits of this fast growing sport."
The bill now moves to the Senate where it could face stiffer opposition. If Connecticut passes the legislation, New York would be the only remaining state that outlaws the sport.