Legislation to legalize MMA in New York put on hold yet again

Tom Petty can pretty much describe how a lot of MMA fans are feeling about the never ending delays that continue to stall legislation aimed at legalizing the sport of mixed martial arts in the state of New York.

The waiting is the hardest part, every day you see one more card. You take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part.

Suffolk County Assemblyman Steven Englebright had introduced a bill last week to New York Legislators aimed at legalizing mixed martial arts in the "Empire State."

The new bill up for consideration includes a three-year "Sunset Clause," which is basically a law with an expiration date. A sunset clause would give legislators an opportunity to study the sport of MMA and gauge its economic and social impact on the state of New York.

The bill would expire after three years unless legislative action is taken to extend it.

MMA is currently unregulated in New York, and appeared to be on the verge of being sanctioned in 2008, but some eleventh-hour concerns from uneducated members of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development scuttled its passage.

Another session on the matter began in the state capital on January 7 and was expected to reconvene on February 11.

No longer.

"Budget issues" are expected to monopolize the entire schedule for the immediate future, effectively pushing non-critical items (like MMA sanctioning) to the legislative back burner.

UFC Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner and president of the company Dana White have been ratcheting up the economic rhetoric and financial success of its mixed martial events in hopes of using the economic benefits of live shows to influence voters who may be on the fence.

Money talks … and the UFC has the numbers to back it up. An independent economic impact study indicated that the promotion would generate about $11.5 million for the "Big Apple."

Still, it will have an uphill battle so long as detractors like Democratic Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who referred to the sport of MMA as a "glorification of brutality and violence," have their say in the vote.

Now with an obstacle as broad and sweeping as "Budget issues", who can even say when that vote will be.

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