Have we finally seen the day that mixed martial arts (MMA) will be legalized in New York?
One of the biggest obstacles to getting Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) into the "Empire State" has been Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was recently arrested on corruptions charges to the tune of several million dollars.
From New York Times:
Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for more than two decades, is accused of a range of corrupt dealings that capitalized on his official position. They include using his position to obtain corrupt payments misrepresented as referral fees from a law firm; funneling state research funds and other benefits to a doctor who in return referred asbestos claims to the law firm where the speaker worked; and secretly helping real estate developers win tax breaks.
Silver's attorneys called the allegations "meritless criminal charges" (see the full complaint below).
Cage fighting has been banned in New York since 1997.
During that span, UFC tried everything it could think of to get the ruling overturned. Aside from presenting a fairly-convincing economic impact study (see it here), ZUFFA took the state to court, charging that its current ruling is unconstitutional.
It didn't get very far but today, as they say, is a new day.
It will be interesting to see if any of the corruptions charges are tied back to the Las Vegas Culinary Union, which continues to fight the Fertitta brothers -- by any means necessary -- over non-union hotel operations in Nevada. These next few months should be very telling.
For more on the MMA ban in New York click here.