A bill that would legalize and regulate mix martial arts matches in the state cleared a key legislative committee this afternoon on a vote of 21 to 2.
Connecticut is one of four states that does not permit the fast-growing sport, which blends judo, karate, boxing and other forms of fighting. A similar bill came up during the 2011 legislative session but failed to win approval.
Supporters say mixed martial arts matches could generate significant revenue for the cash-strapped state.
“It goes on here in an unregulated environment,” said Sen. Joan Hartley, D-Waterbury and co-chair of the committee. “This will serve to include those regulations and bring it under control, if you will.”
But Rep. Steven Mikutel, D-Griswold, said he has concerns about the safety of the sport. “Would it allow one to use one’s foot and elbows to strike another person in the head and to kick somebody when they’re on the ground?” he asked.
“It seems too brutal for me, too uncivilized. I’m…concerned with the message it send to young people. I’ve seen these cage fights and [they're] pretty brutal.”