After again passing through the Senate, the fate of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the state of New York lies once more in the hands of the state’s assembly.
The bill to legalize MMA in New York passed in the Senate with a vote of 44-16 on Tuesday in favor of legalization, and for the fifth straight year will move to the assembly where the bill has received considerably more resistance.
With the ongoing lobbying conflict in New York between the Las Vegas Culinary Union and Zuffa LLC (UFC parent company) owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who also own the un-unionized “Station Casinos” in Las Vegas, it is conceivable that for the fifth straight year the bill to legalize MMA may once again fail to even reach a vote due to nothing more than rotten politics.
From claims of encouraging violence among the nation’s youth, to the sport being disparaging toward women, a litany of excuses to keep MMA banned in the state have halted the bill in its tracks for the last four years. Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has offered considerable opposition to the legalization of MMA, as he has successfully stopped the bill from reaching a vote on the floor in past attempts, where many representatives believe the bill has enough support to pass through the house.
While some may think the biggest losers here are fans of Mixed Martial Arts, the real loser is the Empire State, which could stand to profit substantially from the legalization of the sport.
In an economic impact report prepared by HR&A Advisors, Inc., it was reported that the legalization of MMA in the state of New York would produce $135 million in economic activity annually, and roughly $6 million in local and state tax revenue, not to mention that, upon its sanctioning, it is likely that these numbers would only grow.
Putting the numbers a side, it is a complete travesty for any fight fan to be robbed of ever seeing action inside the historic Madison Square Garden Arena in New York City. From the original heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan defending his title against Joe Collins in 1882, to Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier in “The Fight” and Rocky Marciano vs. Joe Louis, MSG and the State of New York in general has a deep-rooted history in combat sports and with current UFC champions and huge pay-per-view draws Jon Jones and Chris Weidman hailing from NY, it is only fitting that these world-renowned stars should be able to fight in their home turf, which remains the only state or province in North America that does not permit the sport.
I wouldn’t recommend holding your breathe, but once again there is a possibility that with house cooperation and actual “legislating,” we could see MMA in New York very soon.