SBD/May 8, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New York State Assembly Denies Vote On Bill That Would Legalize MMA

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Mixed martial arts will remain illegal in New York, Connecticut for at least next year
MMA will not become legal in New York this year after state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday said that a bill to allow it “would not come to the floor for a vote,” according to John Eligon of the N.Y. TIMES. Silver made the decision yesterday after meeting with other Assembly Democrats to “discuss the proposal to legalize” the sport. This was the “second blow in a week” for MMA and UFC; leaders of the Connecticut Legislature last week also indicated that they were “not ready to approve the sport.” UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner: “All I want is a vote on the Assembly floor. If it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t pass. Not to get a vote by the full Assembly, to me, is un-American.” Ratner said that “one of the biggest roadblocks for the bill was opposition by the hotel workers union in New York, which out of solidarity with its counterparts in Las Vegas, has lobbied against legislation” (NYTIMES.com, 5/7). In N.Y., Celeste Katz reports Silver "didn't rule out passage in the next year or two.” Silver: “It’s evolving. I don’t think two years ago it was a 50-50 proposition” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/8). FOXSPORTS.com's Reid Forgrave noted the fact New York still bans MMA "isn’t a moral dilemma at all," but it is a "nasty political and personal squabble involving the UFC’s parent company and a labor union.” UFC President Dana White said, “Can our business continue without New York? Hell yeah, it can! We can go on for 20 years without New York. … But going into Madison Square Garden, it’s just one of those historic venues. All the major fights, all the major sporting events, all the big acts. It’s just one of those milestones in a company’s history.” Forgrave wrote, “The limbo status that mixed martial arts and the UFC inhabit in Albany begs another question: What does it say about your organization if you’ve made it everywhere, but you can’t make it in New York?” (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/7).

B.C. MULLING ATHLETIC COMMISSION
: In Vancouver, Zacharias & Fowlie report the British Columbia government’s proposal to “establish a provincial athletic commission has been resoundingly praised in boxing and mixed martial arts circles in the province, with predictions that it will bring more UFC events to Vancouver.” The commissioner’s office would “regulate and supervise professional contests such as boxing, kick-boxing and mixed martial arts.” There currently are nine local athletic commissions throughout B.C., but once the bill is passed, the province "will repeal all the local authorities, and replace them with a new provincial one" (VANCOUVER SUN, 5/8).
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