UFC Expands Its Reach as Vermont Passes MMA Regulation

Ryan HuffContributor IIIMay 5, 2012

Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman and CEO
Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman and CEOMichael Cohen/Getty Images

Vermont is the latest state in the U.S. to regulate MMA.

According to UFC officials, lawmakers in the “Green Mountain State” have passed a bill to regulate the sport in their state. UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta was naturally enthusiastic about this move.

Vermont’s legislation of the sport of MMA is further evidence of the continued growth and success of our sport in this country. We are pleased that fans in Vermont will now have the opportunity to watch a live UFC event in their own backyard, and look forward to making that happen.

Vermont is now the 46th state to regulate MMA out of 48 states with the necessary regulatory bodies to do so. Of those states, the sport remains unregulated only in New York and Connecticut.

Vermont is one of the least-populated states, and only Wyoming—who also voted to regulate MMA this year—has a lower population. Because of this, Vermont’s decision doesn’t exactly mean major events will be hosted in the state any time soon.

Nevertheless, this move comes as a welcome addition to the growing body of states with regulatory boards for MMA. The UFC has spent a great amount of time and energy building its presence by lobbying for state regulation, and the past two years alone have seen similar legislation in Wyoming, West Virginia and Alabama.

This also places more pressure on New York, which has been the target of the strongest push by the UFC to adopt regulation.

Furthermore, the UFC’s recent increase of Fight Nights on network television means states like Vermont have better chances to host smaller events. This is likely a better opportunity for the UFC, however, which has been working hard to drive expansion not only through more options for fight locations but through network television as well.

Vermont’s decision to regulate MMA, then, means the UFC will have more options for this expansion, whether it decides to host fights in the state or simply build a stronger regional and national presence.