The politics should be out of the political system that held it back by now. The conspiracy theories were smoke screens. The man who was the real holdup to the process is facing his own stiff problems and is out of the way. Most get it finally, that for all the rhetoric over the years it came down, as we’ve
pointed out many times on Inside MMA, to a beef between the Culinary Union and UFC owners Zuffa.
Yes, in what has become a summer tradition, the New York State lawmakers are again voting on whether MMA should be legal. Wait. They could have the chance to vote. The very progressive Empire State is the last holdout in recognizing the sport which can be seen virtually daily on national TV. A sport that is featured regularly in USA Today and is part of a generation’s culture and lexicon.
As of this writing there is no decision and that could change very soon. Or not. It is as it has been for six years plus. We’re getting it to the championship round, the Assembly Floor for a full vote in this case, the politicos equivalent of Round 5. Adding to what looked to be more promising a few weeks ago when per usual the Senate passed the measure sending it to the Assembly, there are other issues such as rent control and tax breaks bills that have sent the session in state capitol Albany beyond the allotted time. The Assembly is literally in overtime and the bill for MMA could be out of time because of that, because of the other votes that must take place.
What the legalizing of MMA would do is simply put the sport under the control of the New York Athletic Commission. It was that body almost two decades ago that ended MMA in the state. Then commissioner Randy Gordon, a well-known and respected figure in the boxing world, was transparent in what was wrong at that time with MMA, still in its infancy compared to how far the UFC has taken it in a relatively short time. Gordon said the sport was “too unregulated” back then. Gordon has not only changed his view he has hosted shows on satellite radio devoted to the sport.
As we are inundated with finger pointing and rehashing among national lawmakers, Democrats dwelling on what Republicans did ten years ago and Republicans reminding Democrats of what they were doing twenty years back, it is refreshing Gordon’s take now. Almost twenty years ago MMA was on the fringe as a sport and wasn’t regulated in many places holding events. It appears the majority of lawmakers also aren’t living in the past and have acknowledged how far the sport has come and how popular the sport is now and how vital the UFC has been to the changes for the better.
If the Assembly fails to take a full vote before the extra time session expires, it will be a sign there are still ill feelings from the past and even if this is a minority, as it appears, it will still be enough to have to recycle it all in 2016. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so ridiculous. There in the State that sets the trends from fashion to food to entertainment; where the network nightly newscasts originates; where advertisement decisions are made to what the rest of the nation will view as trends; the fastest growing sport in the U.S. isn’t a part of it.
All those states that New Yorkers would mock as being backward are years ahead of them in seeing and understanding the evolution of mixed martial arts. The South and Midwest are a decade ahead of getting it right and making it right with regulations and governing bodies that have enhanced the sport and listened to what their constituency wanted.
Before the clock strikes midnight sometime soon in Albany, if for no other reason than to show that the great state of New York is aware there is something hot and current everywhere but here, they will take the extra time to make up for all the needless, wasted time. If for no other reason than not to expound on the mockery a political leader had made in the past, they will vote.
It’s Round 5, step up New York.
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