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Praying for a miracle in New York

While things are looking kinda grim on the New York MMA legislative front, the UFC isn’t going down without a fight. After all, they didn’t hold that big press conference in New York earlier this year just so MMA could time out at the end of another legislative session. They’re pulling out all the stops in an attempt to push things through before the June 20th deadline. Yesterday, the bill got through yet another committee:

The New York Assembly Codes Committee voted 17-to-3 to pass a bill that would regulate MMA events in the state yesterday afternoon. The senate passed the bill by a 42-18 vote in May. Last week, the Assembly sub-committee on tourism overwhelmingly passed the bill. The next step is for the bill to be voted on by the ways and means committee; if it passes, the bill will then go to the Assembly for a final vote. Should it pass the Assembly floor it would be sent to Governor Cuomo.  

“Today was real big,” said UFC Vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner. Ratner was joined in Albany by vice president of business and legal affairs and assistant general counsel Mike Mersh and light heavyweight fighter Rashad Evans.

With the session concluding on June 20 time is of the essence for proponents of legalizing MMA in the state, especially considering that it has never been closer to being legalized in the state than it is now.

“We need to get it to the floor,” Ratner told Metro after the codes committee vote. He said the ways and means committee could vote on the bill either today or tomorrow. “We don’t want to get timed out; just want to get (a vote) up or down.”

Mersh told Metro before the committee vote that all UFC has ever asked for is an “opportunity” for the legalization of the sport to be voted on, and stated that the organization is “confident” that it would pass.

On top of this, Assemblyman Dean Murray sent a letter to the Assembly and Ways and Means Committee heads urging them to allow a vote on the sport. Once again, the economic positives of MMA in the state were emphasized along with a reminder that the current law allows a crazy unregulated underground MMA scene to thrive (our bud Jim Genia wrote an entire book about it). Most importantly, the document is co-signed by what appears to be 60 other assembly members.

It’s not all positive news, though. Another poll came out showing that 55% of New Yorkers don’t think MMA should be legalized:

Broken down further, MMA did receive support from several demographics in the poll. Men as a whole were in favor of its passing, 51 percent to 42 percent, and so were Latinos, 59 percent of which agreed the sport should be sanctioned.

Not surprisingly, the 18-34 year-old block of voters most overwhelmingly supported the passage of MMA, with 67 percent in that camp, while only 29 percent voiced an opposing voice.

Those numbers though, were undone by larger demos. Sixty-five percent of female voters, for example, are still against MMA’s passage. Other groups that voiced overwhelming objection to the sport including whites (55 percent against), African-Americans (56 percent), and adults aged 55 and over, 72 percent of whom oppose the measure. A voter’s location didn’t seem to matter, either. City dwellers, upstaters and suburbanites all opposed the sport by at least a 10 percent margin.

It’s always worth taking these polls with a big grain of salt. The last one that showed people reacted negatively to MMA was run by an organization affiliated with the union trying to stop MMA legislation from passing. That particular study claimed only 18% of New Yorkers were okay with MMA in New York.

With only a few days left to push things through, it doesn’t seem like there’s much chance that MMA is going to win this year. But goddamn, the UFC is trying as hard as they can to push things through. The only thing left to do is blackmail Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver with twitter pictures of his dong.