MMA in New York Not Happening in 2011

June 21, 2011

As predicted (and as in past years), the MMA bill has again stalled in the New York State Assembly after passing the New York Senate and overwhelmingly passing the two committees where it was debated in the Assembly–Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development and Codes.

Unfortunately, the next committee in the process, Ways & Means, has issued its Agenda on this last day of the legislative session and it does not include the bill that would legalize MMA in New York.

While the legislative session could go a few days longer — until Wednesday or Thursday perhaps — the bill would still need to pass through W&M and Rules before going to the floor for a vote.  This is not going to happen as Herman Farrell, Chair of Ways & Means, has voiced his distaste for MMA:

The Ways and Means chairman said that he’s “looking at” the bill, but said he’s far from a mixed-martial arts fan.  “I don’t think very much of the sport,” Farrell said. “Next we’ll give them clubs with spikes on the end; that will be good.”

Moreover, Sheldon Silver, Chair of Rules and Speaker of the Assembly, has stated that he is not “enamored” with the sport.

Despite the setback, there is some room for optimism this year.  Indeed, there was more mainstream media attention to the issue, which I believe and have previously written will be critical if we are going to get this done.  Moreover, the votes (when votes occurred) were more favorable to MMA than past years.

The fight resumes in 2012.

Fight Lawyer

Justin Klein is an attorney at Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP in New York City where he concentrates his practice in commercial litigation and represents clients in the fight industry. He regularly addresses current legal issues that pertain to combat sports, including efforts to legalize MMA in New York, at his Fight Lawyer website. He is a licensed boxing manager with the New York State Athletic Commission as well as the founder and Chairman of the Board of the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative, a non-profit organization that gives inner city youth the opportunity to experience the emotional and physical benefits of martial arts training. Justin lives in New York City where he trains in jiu jitsu and boxing.

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2 Responses to “MMA in New York Not Happening in 2011”

  1. Machiel Van on June 22nd, 2011 7:27 AM

    It’s only a matter of time, which makes this all silly. If I were a member of the culinary union, I would be extremely upset that my dues are being wasted fighting a futile war based on spite that in the end will accomplish nothing.

  2. BrainSmasher on June 22nd, 2011 8:42 PM

    When will these guys realize no one is asking them to be fans. I dont like lots of things but i do not try to ban them. These guys job is to decide if this sport deserves to be banned based on the starts that have been used to judge other sports. No one can look at the facts and ban MMA and allow boxing, football, and racing. You can make anything look bad if you spin it to fit your bias. Baseball is just guys throwing deadly objects at each other at 100 mph then having a gang fight in the middle of the field. Or NASCAR is just 42 people with a death wish driving 200 mph. The fans of each are just blood thirsty. Someone on the committee should remind these guys there preference and their job are two different things. These guys are appointed these positions because someone trusted their judgments according to the law. Not their own person likes and dislikes.

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