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3. Targeting Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a favorite punching bag of politicians looking to meddle in the realm of sports, especially now that it's replacing boxing as a spectator sport. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a big fan of boxing, has called MMA "human cockfighting." Thailand banned MMA altogether to protect their muy thai business. During the 1990s MMA was banned in more than 40 states. Reason’s Greg Beato noted a few years ago how politicians’ efforts to crack down on mixed martial arts actually led MMA’s largest enterprise, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), to make changes that helped bring it into the mainstream; by 2006 it had beaten boxing and wrestling in pay-per-view revenue. In May, Vermont became the 46th state to regulate mixed martial arts under its athletic commission and last year the UFC sued New York state over its 1997 ban on the live broadcasting of mixed martial arts.
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