Bill to legalize MMA in New York passes State Senate; heads to Assembly Ways and Means Committee

Mixed martial arts (MMA) regulation in the "Empire State" -- take two.

Bill No. S2165B, designed to legalize MMA in New York, passed the State Senate today by a vote of 32-26 and will now head to the Ways and Means Committee for further consideration, according to

A successful run there could direct it to the Assembly floor for a general vote -- and eventually the desk of Governor David Patterson for final approval.

The same Governor Paterson who proposed MMA legislation earlier in the year to help reduce the state's $9 billion deficit.

MMA is currently unregulated in New York. It 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 Jan. 7, 2009, and was voted on later in the year, indicating that the pendulum was perhaps finally swinging in a positive direction.

Unfortunately, progress was stymied once again.

UFC Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner and president of the company Dana White have been working on this deal for months and years, ratcheting up the economic rhetoric and financial success of its mixed martial events to influence voters who may be on the fence.

In fact, the organization hired a high-powered public relations and lobbying firm to ensure that its messages were heard and that common misconceptions were clarified among key influencers and the public-at-large.

In particular, the efforts were targeted at detractors like Democratic Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who referred to the sport of MMA as a "glorification of brutality and violence" and continues to do everything in his power to sabotage the process.

An independent economic impact study indicated that the promotion would generate about $11.5 million for the city with just one major pay-per-view (PPV) event. Put simply, money talks … and the UFC has the numbers to back it up.

Stay tuned.

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