Ronald Canestrari Against MMA, Claims to Have Heard Nothing from Local Businesses
With the battle to sanction mixed martial arts in New York starting anew in January, New York State Assembly Majority leader Ronald Canestrari has officially come out against the regulation of the sport. Canestrari made it clear that his issue is not with any particulars of the bill to sanction MMA, but with the sport itself.
The sport appears to me to be too barbaric,” said the Majority Leader. “I think if boxing came up today, we'd vote against that, too. But that's already here and part of the culture.”
Canestrari's stance has been echoed before with MMA's most vocal opponent in New York, Assemblyman Bob Reilly. However, a peculiar aspect of the Majority Leader's stance is that he has claimed to have never heard from a local small business owner who stands to profit from MMA.
Among the New Yorkers in support of the world's fastest growing combat sport, none are more financially invested than small business owners who are involved in the MMA industry. Apparel companies, locally owned promotions, and equipment vendors lose percentages of their profits on a monthly basis being forced to operate events in New Jersey where MMA matches can actually be held, rather than spend their money closer to home. Yet, none of these business owners have called the Majority Leader with their concerns.
“I don't know of those businesses,” Canestrari said. “I just not have been contacted by any of them.”
While individuals who have no financial interest in the sport have voiced their stance to the Majority Leader, Canestrari claims that expressed public opinion “hasn't been overwhelming” either way.
Last year, the bill to sanction MMA in New York was ultimately defeated by the majority caucus in the State Assembly, in spite of the bill receiving support by the State Senate and the former Governor, David Paterson. Assembly Democrats will likely have the fate of MMA for the Empire State in their hands, yet again, once the legislative session begins in January.
Members of the Democrat majority consist of a combination of MMA's biggest supporters, such as the MMA sanctioning bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, and the sport's biggest detractors. The lack of a hard-line party stance has left many New Yorker's confused as to which members of their own government will be most instrumental in seeing if MMA ever makes it to The Empire State.
The Majority Leader's opinion on the sport will be a key element in its sanctioning in 2011. Now may be a good time for local businessmen with money at stake to let the Majority Leader know that they exist and that they pay New York State taxes.
Photo: Ron Canestrari (New York State Assembly)