Jim Genia has the details on the re-revised New York MMA legislation that’s slowly working it’s way through the state’s Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committee:
* An 8.5% gate tax on all gross revenues generated from ticket sales. This is sort of hefty, and more than anything would be discouraging to mid- and lower-level promoters than to someone like the UFC or Strikeforce.
* A 3% tax on gross revenues from broadcasting, with a cap of $50,000 (i.e., the State maxes out on 50 large).
* The New York State Athletic Commission has to add martial arts organizations to it’s “approved list”, which means blokes representing the United States Naked Oil Wrestling Federation and the International Karate and Coffee-Enema League might now have a chance at putting on sanctioned events – provided those organizations are viable and meet NYSAC standards.
* A “professional combative sports participant” is any fighter who competes for money, or teaches, or “pursues or assists in the practice of mixed martial arts as a means of obtaining a livelihood or pecuniary gain”. Um, doesn’t this sound like anyone connected to MMA, including journalists and fight gear and clothing salesman, would now be considered a participant?
* A “professional combative sports match or exhibition” is now any bout where participants receive anything for their troubles or admission is charged to the event. This pretty much sews up the loophole that allowed events like the Underground Combat League.
* Gyms teaching MMA are subject to licensing by the NYSAC.
* There’s a three-year sunset clause on the bill, meaning that after three years the law is automatically repealed. Really, think of this just as a mandatory review clause to encourage tweaking if things aren’t working out as planned.
That first one about 8.5% of all the gate money going towards the athletic commission is pretty brutal. But I suppose the only reasons the dimwits on the Tourism Committee are even considering legalizing the sport is so they can tax the fuck out of it, so it’s not too surprising.
It always sucks when you have to hope that greed outweighs ignorance with the government, but the good news is that greed almost always wins out, so at least we have that on our side in this case. Hopefully it doesn’t win out to the same degree it did in Hawaii, where a 3% tax on all PPV and DVD money has basically killed any possibility of big events being held there.