Governor: MMA In New York Should Be Taken "Seriously" For Potential Economic Impact
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state “should take MMA ‘seriously’ if it promises ‘significant economic development,’” according to Erik Kriss of the N.Y. POST. The statement came as several fighters yesterday were "lobbying lawmakers" to legalize professional MMA. Cuomo said, “I think this is a major endeavor that is televised, that is happening all over the country at this point. You’re not going to stop it from happening, and I’m interested in the economic potential for the state.” New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver -- who “recently called professional matches in New York inevitable -- seemed unmoved” yesterday. Silver said, “The revenue estimates we’ve seen are not that impressive" -- somewhere between $2-5M on an annual basis for the state (N.Y. POST, 4/24). State legislators and reps from the National Organization of Women yesterday said that MMA “should remain banned due to its level of violence.” In Albany, Jimmy Vielkind reports the “potential economic impact has proven quite enticing to politicians." The “Democrat-dominated Assembly” has been the MMA bill’s “traditional stumbling block.” Silver said that this week he would “again discuss with his conference whether it should be allowed on the floor.” Assembly member Joe Morelle, who is sponsoring the bill, said that he “hoped the decision to move it would be made ‘within the next few weeks’” (Albany TIMES-UNION, 4/24).
GOLDEN GOOSE: In N.Y., Aaron Elstein wrote the “real reason” MMA is not legal in New York “may be that UFC is simply such an important Useful Pot of cash for Albany.” A source said that there is “no particular urgency in Albany to pass a bill overturning the ban because lawmakers and lobbyists have figured out there's much moolah to be extracted from the Las Vegas casino operators who own UFC.” The source said, "The ban has nothing to do with people being concerned about the morality of the sport or injuries to the athletes. This is about getting more money from UFC before the law is overturned” (CRAINSNEWYORK.com, 4/23).