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MMA in New York gets long awaited rematch

Peter Lampasona
17 June 2010
MMA in New York gets long awaited rematch
One year after stalling out in the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee, bill A-2009, the Assembly bill to sanction mixed martial arts in the Empire State, finally gets its rematch after the controversial call. The first of many stumbling blocks for the little MMA bill that could occurred after it passed, relatively unhindered into Ways and Means last year. As the bill entered one of its final stops, the legislative coup in the State Senate by protesting minority party leaders caused the bill to remain in limbo until the end of the legislative session, where it had to start over from the beginning this year.* *Editor’s note: Though opposition leader Assemblyman Bob Reilly and two of his contemporaries on the supporting side of the bill all said that the Senate turmoil would not affect the voting schedule at the time the bill was first in Ways and Means, they later issued a statement saying that the backlog caused by the Senate prevented them from finishing.

After a similar bill to sanction MMA was included in the executive budget proposal, A-2009 was put on hold to avoid redundancy, only to go back into action after issues with budget cuts caused the executive budget’s progress to grind to a halt. Ultimately, the bill passed through its first committee on June 3rd, the exact same day that it did last year, by a vote of 13-6, almost the exact same vote count as last year.

Now, back in the Ways and Means Committee, A-2009, and with it the prospect of an MMA event in Madison Square Garden by the end of 2010, will get its well-deserved second crack at the legislative title.

The bill’s final two stops in the Ways and Means and Rules Committees, before coming to a final vote in the General Assembly, are not substantively evaluating the bill, but rather checking that no part of the bill’s wording violates previously established policy.

According to Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s policy adviser Elizabeth Nostrand, A-2009’s sister bill in the State Senate is also in its third stage of approval.

Assuming similar progress by both bills through their respective houses of legislation, they should arrive for final vote at the same time with little need for reconciliation between the two versions. While the legislative process in New York is by no means predictable, UFC Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner’s goal to have an event in New York by 2010 does not seem as far fetched as it did a few months ago.

This has been a continuing update on the progress of MMA sanctioning in New York. For more information on the history of the process, see previous coverage here.

Last Modified:
17 June 2010

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