MMA Bill Again Fails To Get Sufficient Support For New York Assembly Vote
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" (TIMESUNION.com, 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" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 6/18).
MORE PEOPLE GO WITH VISA: ESPN.com'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" (ESPN.com, 6/18).