MMA Once Again Trying To Lift Ban In New York
Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.30.2014
Will it work this time?
MMA Junkie reports that MMA advocates are ready to try again to get the ban of the sport lifted in New York. New York is the only state in the US that doesn't allow professional MMA fights, as the Democratic-led Assembly continues to be against it. It has passed four times in the Senate, partially controlled by Republicans.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, a Democract and the sponsor of the bill, said: "Part of the challenge, I think, is to get legislators who may have an opinion, but their opinion is formed or the context for their opinion is 15 years old, to change their minds. Once we are able to do that, we'll continue to gain converts."
The UFC is suing New York to lift the ban and a federal judge ruled in October that it could happen if the UFC can prove the ban is unconstitutionally vague. Fighters and promoters were in Washington, DC. on Tuesday to call for legislation instead of getting the courts involved. They said the sport is different now and getting it regulated by New York would make sure safety precautions are being used. They also said that New York would get about $135 million a year in revenue from fights at major venues, including upstate arenas and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.
The UFC's Uriah Hall, who grew up in New York City, said: "I'm trying to get people to have a better understanding of the sport. It has evolved a lot."
The sport was banned in New York in 1997. Legalization appeared to be close to an Assembly vote last year, but female lawmakers called the sport sexist and it failed after several sexual harassment cases in the chamber. New York unions also want the sport banned because UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta has had a labor dispute with unions at his Las Vegas casinos. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said he would consider the bill again this year. Silver hasn't supported it so far and has been criticized for how he handled the sexual harassment cases involving female aides last year.
Silver spokesman Michael Whyland added: "There has not been sufficient support in the past. We'll discuss it with our members at some point and see if there is any change."