Glover Teixeira of Danbury, a rising star in the world of mixed martial arts, will testify today before a legislative committee considering a bill legalizing and regulating the sport in Connecticut.
“Ironically, I can sit in my living room in Danbury and watch MMA on television,” Teixeira said in written testimony presented to the Public Safety and Security Committee in advance of a public hearing. “I can watch it on pay-per-view…and I can attend live events in nearby states and [at Connecticut's two Indian] casinos. But I cannot participate in a supervised and regulated live event in Connecticut.”
MMA is an intense and increasingly popular sport that blends boxing, wrestling, karate, ju-jitsu and other forms of fighting. Matches are not permitted in Connecticut, but state lawmakers are considering a bill that would sanction such contests, provided they are regulated and the ticket revenue is taxed. Connecticut and New York are the only states that do not permit professional MMA events.
A bill legalizing the sport cleared the public safety committee last year but failed to win passage in the waning days of the session.
Proponents say it would generate tax revenue to the state through a 5 percent tax on all gate receipts as well as ancillary economic benefits to businesses in communities that host professional MMA matches.