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Maggie Hendricks

MMA in NY update: Foe Bob Reilly in tight race for job

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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You might have noticed that we had a little election in the U.S. Tuesday. The key race of interest to MMA fans was that of Bob Reilly and Jennifer Whalen for the New York state assembly. Reilly, you may recall, is the New York assembly member who has spent considerable time blocking MMA from being legalized in the Empire State.

At the moment, Reilly has a razor-thin lead over Whalen that will likely be decided by absentee votes. Whalen needs 73 percent of the votes to break her way to unseat the incumbent Reilly. If Reilly stays in, legalizing MMA in New York is an uphill battle.

Does that still matter to fans? New York City is the epicenter of the media world, and the UFC has long-dreamed of staging a card at Madison Square Garden, but fans don't seem to mind driving to Newark for fights; 17,000 crammed into the Prudential Center for UFC 111. Though NYC is the largest market in the U.S. and the fourth-largest city in the world, the UFC has a foothold and has done events in Los Angeles, London, Chicago and Montreal. An event in Toronto is impending.

Granted, it's in MMA's best interests to be legal and regulated in every state of the union. But considerable time and effort has been spent on legalizing MMA in New York, and it's still not legal. Is it worth the fight?

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