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Volume 24 No. 116

Leagues and Governing Bodies

New York Assembly Democrats yesterday "knocked out plans to legalize mixed-martial arts in New York, saying there was insufficient support to bring the issue to a vote," according to Joseph Spector of the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. The measure has "passed four years in a row in the Republican-led Senate, but it has failed to garner enough support in the Democratic-controlled Assembly." UFC co-Chair & CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said that the company "would continue to push for passage in New York in future years." Spector notes New York is "the only state in the nation to bar" MMA competitions (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 6/19). In Albany, Jimmy Vielkind reported the decision not to vote on the bill came "amid continued objections from some legislators, including some women in the conference." Assembly member John McDonald said, "There was a lot of discussion about it -- people were for it, people were against it -- and with the split, they didn’t want to bring it to the floor." Opponents led by Assembly member Ellen Jaffee argued that MMA "promotes a culture of violence" (, 6/18). In N.Y., Ken Lovett cited sources as saying that while the bill "would likely have enough votes to pass if it made it to the floor, it is rare for the Assembly to move a bill that would need help from the GOP minority." Assembly member Francisco Moya, a sponsor of the bill, said, "On the merits, we should have been able to bring this bill to the floor for a vote." Fertitta "called charges that mixed martial arts is anti-woman and leads to domestic violence 'this year's new, absurd, offensive, and completely erroneous' excuse to kill the bill" (, 6/18).

MORE PEOPLE GO WITH VISA:'s Franklin McNeil noted UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner yesterday "refuted a report" that the promotion's Aug. 17 event in Boston is "in jeopardy of falling apart if several fighters scheduled to compete fail to secure Social Security numbers." Ratner said, "The fight is not in jeopardy. There are a few fighters whom we're working on their visas. Everything is in the process right now. They're all going to apply for Social Security numbers. They have to get visas but also have to apply for Social Security numbers. We're complying with every part of the law." McNeil noted several foreign fighters, including Brazilian Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, are "slated to compete on the card." No U.S. jurisdiction that is a "member of the Boxing Association of Commissions other than Massachusetts requires a fighter to possess a Social Security number." But Ratner said that Massachusetts officials "only recently have made UFC aware of its Social Security requirement." Ratner: "Three years ago it was not a problem. On this card we have some foreign fighters, but we will comply" (, 6/18).

NFL Chief Diversity Officer Robert Gulliver yesterday said that the NFL Rookie Symposium for the first time "will include speakers on the issue of sexual orientation," according to Jane McManus of ESPN N.Y. Gulliver said that the league plans to have former NFLers "speak about the possibility of having a gay teammate, and how to talk about these issues publicly." He added that the NFL "isn't anticipating one of its own players is on the verge of coming out, but in the wake of Jason Collins' decision to come out to Sports Illustrated in April, sports leagues are preparing players with the goal of having a harassment-free work place." Athlete Ally, GLAAD and You Can Play are the three groups that the league is "consulting on the segment." Athlete Ally Founder Hudson Taylor said that the NBA is "doing something similar with its rookie class" (, 6/18). Meanwhile, ESPN's Tony Reali noted Bengals CB Adam "Pacman" Jones again is planning to address the rookies at the symposium on "what not to do" off the field. ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said the NFL is bringing in Jones not as a "role model" but rather "as a cautionary tale" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/18). WNBC-NBC's Scott Stanford said Jones speaking a the symposium is "like Tiger Woods talking at an abstinence convention" ("The Crossover With Michelle Beadle," NBC Sports Network, 6/18).

THE BIG SMOKE?'s Mike Freeman cited an unidentified Jaguars player as saying that the team is "basically preparing for the Jaguars to play multiple games in London in the future." But Jags TE Marcedes Lewis said multiple games in the city "would be highly stressful for a team." Lewis: "It would disrupt a big part of your season. There would be a competitive disadvantage for a team that did that. What you would end up doing is just changing a lot of what you do so you're mentally ready. But playing two games in London would be pretty rough for any team no matter what you try to do.” Freeman wrote, "Players and teams are increasingly examining the metrics of this and I can't find any player or coach who privately says they like the idea. The belief is that any team playing in London is at a disadvantage" (, 6/18).