New York Governor David Paterson's support for MMA far from certain
12 January 2010
“[MMA] is one of many revenue raisers we’re looking at,” said Paterson’s press secretary Marissa Shorenstein. “We’re evaluating [sanctioning] and if it makes sense it will be included in the governor’s budget.”
Whether the Daily News, and by extension every other media outlet to pick up the story, exaggerated Paterson’s support or the governor is playing a potentially controversial move close to the vest is anybody’s guess. For now, Paterson’s official stance on MMA is non-committal. Press Secretary Shorenstein was not authorized to discuss the details of the budget until its release next week.
If Paterson does eventually come out in support of the sanctioning of MMA, it will be the second time governor of New York has affected the fate of MMA in the Empire State.
In 1997, then Governor George Pataki threw all his political weight into seeing the sanctioning of MMA in New York overturned and having the sport ultimately being banned. Recently, Pataki has withdrawn his opposition to the sport, saying that MMA events could bring much needed revenue into the state. Pataki’s turn around is not surprising, as his initial fight with the sport was viewed by many to be a callous political maneuver to support fellow Republican and MMA detractor, John McCain, rather than a product of a moral belief that the sport is barbaric.
Paterson’s office had no comment on the precedent set for the governor’s office to influence matters of parks, tourism, and sports development. The governor's budget will be officially released January 19th.