Mixed martial arts (MMA) sanctioned in New York? As if.
I don't want to suggest that bill A04146 was dead on arrival, but it's never a good sign when Paul Bearer brings it to the Assembly's Ways and Means committee in a brass urn.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials were optimistic when the bill passed the State Senate back in May by a vote of 42-18. It picked up steam from the public's support, but ran out of gas in the Ways and Means committee with no one there to keep it afloat.
The Assembly had 26 bills to vote on in its final day of the legislative calendar. Unfortunately A04146, designed to legalize mixed martial arts events, wasn't one of them.
The Fight Lawyer has more:
While the legislative session could go a few days longer -- until Wednesday or Thursday perhaps -- the bill would still need to pass through W&M and Rules before going to the floor for a vote. This is not going to happen as Herman Farrell, Chair of Ways & Means, has voiced his distaste for MMA.
The Ways and Means chairman said that he’s "looking at" the bill, but said he’s far from a mixed-martial arts fan. "I don’t think very much of the sport," Farrell said. "Next we’ll give them clubs with spikes on the end; that will be good."
Moreover, Sheldon Silver, Chair of Rules and Speaker of the Assembly, has stated that he is not "enamored" with the sport.
New York is one of just six states that (still) does not regulate MMA.
UFC held a public press conference at Madison Square Garden (MSG) earlier this year with New York assemblyman Dean Murray and MSG Sports president Scott O'Neil to present an independent economic impact study indicating the "Empire State" would generate about $16 million from the UFC alone based on just two pay-per-view (PPV) events per year, split between "The World's Most Famous Arena" and Buffalo's HSBC Arena.
And that doesn't include the jobs and additional income from regional or independent promotions also throwing their hat into the New York fight scene.
Former New York Governor David Paterson first proposed MMA legislation in early 2010 to help reduce the state's $9 billion deficit; however, Assembly Democrats stripped approval from the budget bill shortly thereafter.
And it wasn't the first time MMA came oh-so-close to becoming legal.
It appeared to be on the verge of sanctioning back 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.
See you in 2012.