New Yorkers, your tax dollars are being wasted. In working to keep mixed martial arts illegal in the Empire State, Assemblyman Bob Reilly has led his fellow Assembly members down a dark and ignorant tunnel. Sadly, the other Assembly members followed happily, no questions asked:
"I'll express ignorance of this sport, but after Bob described what a vicious sport it was, it was voted down by everybody on the committee," said Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Niagara Falls.
Really? Is that how Assemblywoman DelMonte approaches all of her legislative work? Apparently she couldn't spare an aide to write up a two-page summary of mixed martial arts before she, a member of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development, voted on a bill that could have brought in millions of dollars to her state.
Reilly is also wasting taxpayer time and money by cultivating a false holier-than-thou attitude:
The people who are drawn to mixed martial arts are attracted by the brutality of it, which goes above and beyond what you see in boxing.
Really? MMA fans are the only ones who like brutality, according to Assemblyman Reilly. Football fans clearly don't like brutality. Ryan Clark's vicious hit on Wes Welker has been played more than 500,000 times on Youtube since the hit occurred on Sunday, but it's only the MMA fans who enjoy brutality. He goes on to say:
It seems, to me, beyond logic that we in the state legislature would consistently pass laws against physical abuse and physical intimidation, everything from domestic abuse to bullying in schools, and then allow this stuff. We should not be encouraging the glorification of this kind of violence.
Again, really? Domestic abuse, physical intimidation and mixed martial arts are all in the same category, according to Assemblyman Reilly. He fails to mention the fact that fighters choose to go in the cage. Fighters choose to take on the risks that are associated with the sport. Putting MMA, a sport that has been found to be safer than boxing, in the same category as assault isn't just insulting to mixed martial artists and their fans, it's insulting to victims of violence.
I don't expect Reilly, or anyone on his committee, to become huge fans of the sport. But it's not too much to expect that an elected official would not spout off about the sport, and then vote against it, with such willful ignorance.
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