Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) will be legal in New York. The only question is: when. The economic possibilities are too great to simply keep MMA on the sidelines. Time and time again, New York legislators have been misled by special interests groups and the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 to deny the bill a fair up-or-down vote in the State Assembly. However, this will not deter or dissuade the cause to bring MMA to New York. In fact, it emboldens a company like the Ultimate Fighting Championship to continue their journey to bring MMA to the state of New York and endless economic possibilities along with it. Here are some highlights from new media outlets reporting on the recent news:
Official Statement From Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman & CEO
“While our disappointment cannot be overstated, our commitment to seeing New York legalize the fastest growing sport in the nation and the world is intact and undeterred. We continue to strongly believe that legalizing and regulating MMA in New York is the right thing for the state economically, the right thing for the millions of fans in New York and the right thing for the safety and benefit of the thousands of professional and amateur MMA athletes across the state.
“This year’s new, absurd, offensive, and completely erroneous charge used to justify the defeat of MMA legislation was that MMA is anti-woman and leads to domestic violence. This is a deception fabricated by a Las Vegas union that is recklessly and callously trying to use an important societal issue to try and punish the UFC. It isn’t honest and doesn’t work.
“It doesn’t work because our business is not harmed by not being in New York, as much as we would like to be there for our fans and for the arenas, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses which would see substantial economic benefits from the legalization of MMA in New York.
“And it isn’t honest because preventing live professional MMA events in New York does absolutely nothing to address the issues they claim to champion but really exploit. MMA is now legal in all 49 other states. Why has there not been a single protest in any of those states by any group or individual purporting to being fighting for women’s rights? It is a false argument and those making that argument know it.
“The union is exploiting the issue to attack the UFC. Before UFC and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson parted ways, the union and their supporters said in New York that they were ‘appalled’ by his behavior. Yet, when he recently signed with another promoter there was not a peep by the union or its allies.
“This canard hurts women and hurts New York. Continuing to ban MMA in New York does not hurt the UFC. It only highlights the absurdity of the dishonest debate being waged by a small number of people in New York. And New Yorkers pay the price.
“If New York’s leaders really do have a commitment to fanning a growing business climate in the state, they have a heck of a way of showing it. We genuinely feel bad for the hotels, restaurants, gyms, and other businesses that support our effort and have championed this cause. We also feel bad for New York’s arenas – large and small, particularly those upstate – that are struggling and have worked alongside us to pass the legislation. I guess New York’s loss will continue to be New Jersey’s, Massachusetts’, Pennsylvania’s, and Toronto’s gain.
“We want to thank Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle – a true champion – and the more than 60 cosponsors who know passing this bill is the right thing to do. We will continue to work with them to educate the rest of their colleagues.
“This bill has now passed the Senate four years in a row – 47-15 this year – with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. That’s right, strong majorities of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate support this bill and we know if we could only get a vote in the Assembly, we would see strong majorities of Democrats and Republicans supporting the bill there.
“Speaker Silver said legalizing MMA in New York is ‘inevitable’ and we agree. It is discouraging that the Speaker does not yet believe that the bill has garnered the support of his conference, however, we appreciate that he has brought it to conference for the last two years and we are convinced that the third time will be the charm. To paraphrase a famous movie line, we’ll be back.”
NY Daily News
June 18, 2013
By Ken Lovett
Bill sponsor Francisco Moya (D-Queens) said he is "very disappointed."
"On the merits, we should have been able to bring this bill to the floor for a vote," Moya said.
Albany Times Union
June 18, 2013
By Jimmy Vielkind
It's unclear if there was a formal tally taken, but the bill has passed the state Senate four times and has 64 co-sponsors. Its backers insist it has the votes to pass.
June 19, 2013
By Matt Juul
New York remains the last hold out on the continent mostly due to opposition from several women's groups who claim that MMA is misogynistic as well as the Culinary Union of Las Vegas, who's long-standing fued with the Fertitta brothers over their labor practices has halted any progress within the state for the sport.
“This year’s new, absurd, offensive and completely erroneous charge used to justify the defeat of MMA legislation was that MMA is anti-woman and leads to domestic violence," Fertitta said. "This is a deception fabricated by a Las Vegas union that is recklessly and callously trying to use an important societal issue to try and punish the UFC. It isn’t honest and doesn’t work."