It’s not yet legal in New York, but it could be soon — and professional cage fighting, or Mixed Martial Arts, is already big business across the country. In 2011, the sport’s leading promoter, Ultimate Fighting Championship, signed an estimated $700 million contract with Fox to broadcast MMA matches.
Using numbers like this one — and the immense popularity of the sport among those who would pay a pretty penny to see it in person — industry advocates claim that MMA events would generate at least $100 million across the state, providing a boost to the five boroughs, not to mention struggling upstate economies.
So, the argument goes: Why not just go ahead and legalize professional MMA?
There are many serious concerns about cage fighting, including its glorification of violence, that are beyond economic analysis. But one problem that can be quantified is also among the least discussed: the long-term health impact of MMA on pro fighters.
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