MMA ban lifted in West Virginia

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:23 PM ET

Another state opened the doors to mixed martial arts Thursday.

A bill to regulate MMA was passed in the West Virginia legislature, allowing promoters like the UFC to stage events in the state. MMA is now regulated in 45 states, according to a press release from the UFC.

"We've worked hard to get this sport regulated all over the world, particularly in the United States," UFC president Dana White said. "I'm really excited to see the sport regulated in West Virginia and look forward to one day bringing a UFC event there."

MMA is still unregulated in New York, Vermont and Connecticut while Alaska and Wyoming don't have regulatory bodies to oversee the sport.

Former UFC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles, a native of Charleston, W.V., was happy to hear that he'd be able to fight in his home state.

"All of my friends and family in West Virginia always ask when they're going to get to see me fight in my home state," Bowles said. "Now that the sport is regulated there, I am excited to know that I could one day compete in the Octagon in West Virginia."

In Canada, MMA is still banned in four provinces -- Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick (except Moncton). The UFC has already held events in Montreal and Vancouver and another is scheduled for Toronto next month.

Ontario became the most recent province to allow MMA fights on Aug. 14. UFC 129, with Georges St. Pierre meeting Jake Shields in the main event, is scheduled for April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.


Videos

Photos