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MMA in New York State

The Battle for MMA in New York Goes Into Overtime
This article taken directly from my column at MMA Zone

The Mixed Martial Arts community has been pushing for the legalization of MMA in New York State for quite some time. Unfortunately, they will not see the fruits of their labor for another year.

On June 23rd, the New York State Assembly left bill A.2009-B on the table, meaning that it will not have another chance to be discussed until January 2010.

“Essentially, we just ran out of time,” said one representative from Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s office. Englebright is the New State House sponsor of bill A.2009-B and an advocate for MMA in New York.
The New York State Assembly has been dealing with budget as well as leadership and possible coup issues for the past few weeks. So, even the upcoming emergency session that Governor Patterson has ordered probably won’t help the bill get in front of the right eyes.

On June 3rd, 2009, Bill A.2009-B was passed by the Tourism, Arts, and Sports Committee. The next step was to be passed by the Ways and Means committee, which is where the bill was abandoned. Because it had never reached this step, Bill A.2009-B will go back to the Tourism Committee to be brought up again, in 2010. If it had been passed, it would have had the ability to be reopened right on the Assembly floor, when discussions continue.

A study by Johns Hopkins University concluded, “the overall injury rate [excluding brain injury] in MMA competitions is now similar to other combat sports [that involve striking], including boxing. Knockout rates are actually lower in MMA competitions than in boxing, which is a generally accepted sport in the U.S.

However, Assembly members like Bob Reilly, who are uneducated about the sport, feel it is too violent to bring to New York State. In addition to Englebright, his opposition includes Senator Joe Griffo who sponsors the bill in New York State Senate.

The UFC has been spearheading the push for MMA in New York, hoping to bring a fight card to New York City as early as the beginning of 2010. An independent economic impact study suggested that such an event would generate over $11 million in revenue for the city. But, it seems like the event, and the revenue that goes with it, will not see New York until late 2010 or even early 2011.
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MMA Zone

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