April 7, 2009

NY Senator Does his best to ban MMA

From MMAinsider.com

New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly has drafted a document outlining his arguments against the legalization of MMA in New York state.

This week, the paper was distributed to members of the Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee, according to a source in Reilly's Albany office. The committee, chaired by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, is expected to vote on bill that could regulate the sport by the year's end.

A vote on the bill, titled A.2009-A, has been delayed due to legislature addressing the state's budget shortfall.

The budget was passed last week, but the bill has yet to be put on the committee's agenda, according to sources MMAInsider spoke to.

Last June, a similar bill titled A.11458-A did not pass the committee after it was unable to come to a formal vote.

Subsequently, Mr. Reilly emerged as a self-proclaimed "accidental opposition" to the legalization of the sport. In January, Mr. Reilly gave an interview to MMAWeekly.com where he outlined many of the arguments now formalized in the document.

In addition to the arguments outlined in the paper, Mr. Reilly claims he was verbally threatened by mixed martial arts proponents and reported the threats to New York State Police.

The formal 24 page paper can be found here


Once again we find ignorant politicians dipping their pens into realms they have no business in. If you read through the 24 pages of protest you will find many topics taken out of context, and overall a poorly organized argument against MMA. For instance the three tenants on which this proposal stands:

1. Violent sports such as MMA have a negative affect on society, children, and adults.

2. Ultimate fighting / MMA has a negative effect on the economy of NY state and its municipalities.

3. The majority of New Yorkers do not want the legalization of MMA in NY.

This is pure propaganda that has no solid basis to stand on.
First of all any sport has potential for injury and even death with children. I have yet to hear of anyone dieing from MMA practice nor competition. Whereas children die every year from heat exhaustion in football, getting struck by hard fast moving balls in baseball, and getting hit with sticks in hockey! Not to mention the injury and death rates involved in boxing both on the amateur and professional levels. In this paper it is stated that MMA is MORE dangerous than boxing because they wear 4oz gloves instead of 12-16 ounce gloves. What the article neglects to mention is that boxers have 2 targets; the head and the body. Guess which one takes more abuse in a 12 round fight?

As for the negative effects on the local and state economy.... what is the basis for this claim? MMA is the fastest growing spectator sport in the nation. Every week we see new clothing companies popping up, fight gyms are booming with attendance, and not to mention the live shows that generate revenue for local bars, retailers, shop owners, etc.

And their third basis for banning MMA is pure speculation in that New Yorkers do not want MMA legalized. Was it put on the ballot and voted upon?? Again, what is the basis for this statement?

Overall this seems like a very weak attempt to ban something that is not understood by right wing politicians, and/or something they cannot generate revenue from directly. From the looks of the paper this argument has no legs to stand on, but that does not mean we should not take the threat seriously. New York has always been at the forefront of some of the nations most stringent laws on all levels, and their is a lot of power and influence in the state. Fans, promoters, and practitioners alike should pay close attention to this issue as it unfolds.

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