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Steve Cofield

The chances of a 2010 MMA event in New York looking bleak

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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At least we know ineptitude isn't limited to the federal level. State governments have shown they're just as incapable of managing things locally. Unfortunately for mixed martial arts fans that means states like New York can be bogged down forever when it comes to legalizing the sport.

The state has had a ban on UFC since 1997. This year's state budget package includes approving the sport but because the folks in Albany can't find resolution it's making the possibility of an event at Madison Square Garden later this year nearly impossible.

R.M. Schneiderman of the Wall Street Journal says even if the bill is passed then the state athletic commission would need four months to get rules and regulations into place.

That's if the MMA provision stays in the bill. MMA's good buddy Bob Reilly hasn't given up his fight.

Reilly, an assemblyman from the state’s 109th district, who is MMA’s chief opponent. He’s been trying to separate the MMA provision from the budget process. In February, 48 of his Democratic colleagues joined him and asked for a separate MMA vote in a letter to Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the assembly.

"New Yorkers don’t want it," he wrote in the letter, referring to legalization. And indeed, a Marist poll, released in January reported that 68% of registered voters oppose lifting the MMA ban.

Based on its recent event, UFC 111 right across the Hudson River, the UFC has provided economic impact numbers but Reilly isn't buying them:

... a major fight card in Manhattan would generate $11.3 million in economic activity. That figure includes everything from how much the UFC would spend on the event itself ($5.3 million) to the amount of money visitors would spend to travel to and stay in New York ($1.4 million).

Reilly said that MMA supporters have overstated the sport’s potential economic benefits.

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