Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans in the state of New York hoping to see their favorite sport in the Big Apple won't be getting their wish any time soon as state legislators walked away from a vote on legalization.
After the bill passed in the Senate for a sixth straight year (and second time this year), it wasn't brought to the assembly floor for a vote. There are 150 assembly members in New York, and 76 votes (50 percent plus one) are needed to pass the bill. Although there are more than 76 members of the state assembly who are prepared to vote in favor of sanctioning MMA they never got the chance.
The reason? Some Democratic members had already left Albany and headed home before the vote could happen.
"My big challenge today is that a number of members who are counted as supporters were just unavailable today because of the scheduling, that we weren't expected to be here this long," Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, the bill's sponsor, told Gannett's Albany Bureau.
"And it's really complicated efforts to get to 76. I think it's looking less likely as the day wears on."
Morelle says he will try again in 2016 but that comes as cold comfort to the executives in the UFC. Following the news, president Dana White took to Twitter to blast the legislators:
The corruption in NY politics is DISGUSTING!!!!— Dana White (@danawhite) June 25, 2015
With the latest decision, the country's most populous city and fourth most populous state will go without MMA for another year. Despite widely being recognized as the bastion for liberal democracy, New York now holds the distinction of being the only jurisdiction in America where MMA is still illegal, despite the fact the Ultimate Fighting Championship debuted in the ultra-conservative United Arab Emirates over five years ago.
As Kevin Iole remarks on Yahoo Sports, a few days ago New York legislators were able to push a bill through the assembly and state senate to authorize Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare July 29 as "Chicken Wing Day." But MMA remains fully persona non grata.
The UFC were hopeful the sport would be sanctioned following the departure of its most ardent opponent, Sheldon Silver, who was arrested on federal corruption charges in January. But despite his absence it would appear there is a lack of real appetite from the 105-member Democratic majority in the assembly to get the bill passed into law.
Might this have anything to do with the UFC's ongoing fight with the Las Vegas Culinary Union? Oi vey.
What do you think? Will MMA ever get sanctioned in New York, or will homegrown talent like Chris Weidman have to hop state lines to New Jersey in order to get some local love? Sound off in the comments.