Head case: Dana White hoping fighter safety can help lift MMA ban in New York


Despite the best efforts of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), former Governor David Paterson and even one Frank Shamrock, the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) is still outlawed in the state of New York.

That's part of the reason why New York native Jon Jones will fight Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 in New Jersey's Prudential Center and not Madison Square Garden (MSG), despite the kind of revenue it would generate for "The World's Most Famous Arena."

Part of that has to do with legislation of yesteryear and regulatory scare tactics that have men boarding up their windows while the women and children cower under the bed.

Blood! Violence! Human cockfighting!

The evils of mixed martial arts have long been unveiled as nothing more than ignorance and misinformation, but unfortunately you can't teach old dogs like state Assemblyman Bob Reilly new tricks.

Still, UFC President Dana White is hoping public demand for the world's fastest growing sport will force the stubborn blowhards on Mt. Righteous to open the gates in spite of their personal feelings towards MMA.

And if all they have to cling to at this stage of the game is the notion of "violence," White has a surprising comparison (via the Wall Street Journal) that makes most of their argument null and void.

"Here's the reality: This is the most regulated sport in the world. Guys in the NFL and NHL can't miss three months. If guys missed three months for a concussion, there would be no NFL, there would be no NHL. That's the difference. Our sport is a million times more safe than both of them."

The New York Rangers hockey team has its share of unregulated fights and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) often showcases athletes who "blade" (cutting the skin to draw blood in a match).

Both are fixtures at MSG, as is championship boxing.

New York MMA fans still get to enjoy the live events, but will bring their checkbooks across the Hudson and even as far as Philadelphia, which is easily accessible through NY Penn Station.

"The City of Brotherly Love" will itself hold another UFC event when the promotion reportedly returns to Philly this August.

The ban on MMA in New York won't keep residents of "The Empire State" from enjoying MMA, but it will keep them from reaping the financial rewards.

But for how much longer?

"I've been saying for years, 'This is the year, this is the year,'" White said. "We spent the whole day up in Albany [recently] meeting with people, educating them, and we'll see what happens."

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