New York poised to end longtime ban on professional MMA

Rashad Evans waits to begin a UFC 167 mixed martial arts light heavyweight bout against Chael Sonnen on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Las Vegas. Evans won by TKO. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is poised to end its ban on professional mixed martial arts, the last state to prohibit the combat sport.

Conducted inside a cage or other enclosure with a referee present, MMA bouts end when one fighter quits or gets knocked out, or judges decide after 15 to 25 minutes of fighting who the winner is.

The New York Assembly plans to vote this week, following seven years of leaving the ban intact after critics complained the sport is too violent.

Fighters wear small, fingerless gloves and punch, kick, elbow, grapple, tackle, slam, twist and choke each other inside a cage.

Advocates say it has evolved from rougher early days with more rules to protect fighters. Meanwhile, it’s on television, and fighters train and amateurs compete in New York.

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