Crossover

Hollie: It’s No Joke, MMA Is Officially Coming To New York

UFC Octagon

Some people would say that Mixed Martial Arts will never be legal in New York because it is too violent. Some would say the opposite, believing that it’s good for business. And on Thursday morning, it’s official; After nearly 20 years, MMA will return to New York state after months of lobbying top lawmakers in the state to lift the ban and sanction the sport. Now, it will happen; November 12, the UFC will officially make its long-awaited Madison Square Garden debut, 20 years in the making.

Here’s a history lesson for some who don’t know what is going on; In 1997, after New York state legalized MMA years prior, the state assembly (spearheaded by then-Speaker Sheldon Silver) and the State Senate (Led by then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno) voted unanimously to ban MMA for good in New York (134-1 in the Assembly, 33-0 in the State Senate), and then Governor George Pataki signed the death certificate to allow sanctioned MMA in the state again.  After that sign of total betrayal on the State’s part, the UFC then pulled out of a show Buffalo after the ban was in place, and relocated their 12th event in Dothan, Alabama. It was a big blow to the UFC and it’s fans in the New York area.

Not long after that, several athletic commissions sanctioned MMA through the Unified Rules of MMA, which helps keep fighters safe through rules. New Jersey was implementing it, California was implementing it, why not New York? The sport has grown up, as senator John McCain, an opponent in the early years of MMA, has said. But in New York, as we all know it was no easy road. Each time it was passed by the State Senate after years of opposition, it was never been on the Assembly floor as long as Sheldon Silver was still in control.

On June 4, 2008, a bill to legalize mixed martial arts was sponsored by Assemblyman Steven Englebright in an effort to bring MMA back to New York. Once it was introduced by the rules committee, it is referred to the Assembly’s Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sports Development to vote on it. The Tourism committee voted 14-6 to pass a bill that would enable the athletic commission to regulate the sport on June 3, 2009. But unfortunately there would be no other votes that session, thanks in large part to Sheldon Silver’s influence in the Assembly. The State Senate passes the bill for the first time on June 16, 2010, this time by a vote of 32-26, but it stalls in the Assembly without any vote.

While MMA was banned in New York, it wasn’t banned across the Hudson, as New Jersey began to reap the benefits. The State Senate passed the bill again by a vote of 42-18 on May 23, 2011, and the Tourism committee once again passes the bill, this time 16-3, a week later. Two weeks later, legislative session of 2011 closes with no vote in the Assembly, thus beginning their summer vacation benefits. The State Senate passes the bill to legalize MMA for the third straight year, this time 43-14 on April 18, 2012, but once again, weeks later, Sheldon Silver said the bill will not come to the floor for a vote that year. The influence of the most powerful man in the Assembly was just too strong to beat.

The following year on March 6, the State Senate passes the bill for the fourth straight year, this time by its widest margin of 47-14, 4 votes up from the previous year. This issue caught the attention of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who said it’s a possible source of revenue and that’s something the state’s very interested in. Silver also said he thinks the ban will be overturned soon but is unsure of when. One thing is for sure, MMA in New York has found its key ally in Albany. The bill to legalize MMA is referred to the Assembly’s Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development committee once again; and while Connecticut and all provinces in Canada lift their ban on MMA, New York was still illegal, with unsanctioned MMA events happen in the Big Apple. But on June 18, 2013, the Assembly Democratic Conference debated the bill to legalize and regulate MMA and unfortunately the bill was denied the opportunity of going to the floor for a full vote. While the Senate passed it overwhelmingly, the Assembly denied every opportunity to pass it on their floor.

For a fifth straight year, the New York State Senate passed the bill on May 13, 2014. But the biggest victory came at the expense of an adversary that kept MMA out of New York State for years as Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie was elected Assembly Speaker, replacing Sheldon Silver after federal corruption charges got the best of him. Heastie himself was a sponsor of the bill but removed his name from all legislation once he took over as speaker. While all of that was going on in the Assembly, the New York State Senate passed the bill For the sixth straight year on March 24, 2015. Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle introduced a re-worked MMA bill that includes,the establishment of an insurance fund for fighters who sustain brain injuries. The State Senate passed that bill for the seventh consecutive time in six years. But the bill didn’t reach the Assembly floor for a vote as the legislative session came to an end after being extended several days after that.

In a push to bring MMA back to New York, Governor Cuomo showed his support for legalizing MMA in New York on January 13, 2016 by including language in favor of it in his budget proposal. Several MMA stars also lobbied for the ban to be lifted once and for all. On February 1, 2016, for the seventh consecutive year the New York State Senate voted in favor of legalizing MMA. And finally, after all the debate, the State Assembly FINALLY passed the legislation by a margin of 113-25. Finally, MMA returns to New York with regulation from the Athletic Commission.

It’s been a long road for MMA to get to where it is now with the Unified Rules, and finally the sport will make it’s now LEGAL return to New York, starting with the UFC in November inside the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden.

MMA is NOW legal in all states, including New York.

Some people would say that Mixed Martial Arts will never be legal in New York because it is too violent. Some would say the opposite, believing that it’s good for business. And on Thursday morning, it’s official; After nearly 20 years, MMA will return to New York state after months of lobbying top lawmakers in the state to lift the ban and sanction the sport. Now, it will happen; November 12, the UFC will officially make its long-awaited Madison Square Garden debut, 20 years in the making.

Here’s a history lesson for some who don’t know what is going on; In 1997, after New York state legalized MMA years prior, the state assembly (spearheaded by then-Speaker Sheldon Silver) and the State Senate (Led by then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno) voted unanimously to ban MMA for good in New York (134-1 in the Assembly, 33-0 in the State Senate), and then Governor George Pataki signed the death certificate to make sure that sanctioned MMA will never be legal in the state again.  After that sign of total betrayal on the State’s part, the UFC then pulled out of a show Buffalo after the ban was in place, and relocated their 12th event in Dothan, Alabama. It was a big blow to the UFC and it’s fans in the New York area.

Not long after that, several athletic commissions sanctioned MMA through the Unified Rules of MMA, which helps keep fighters safe through rules. States like New Jersey and California was implementing it, why not New York? As US Senator John McCain, an opponent in the early years of MMA, has said; The sport has grown up. But in New York, as we all know it was no easy road. Each time it was passed by the State Senate after years of opposition, it was never been on the Assembly floor as long as Sheldon Silver was still in control.

On June 4, 2008, a bill to legalize MMA was sponsored by Assemblyman Steven Englebright in an effort to bring the sport back to New York. Once it was introduced by the rules committee, it is referred to the Assembly’s Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sports Development to vote on it. The Tourism committee did what they were asked and they voted 14-6 to pass the bill that would enable the athletic commission to regulate it. But unfortunately there would be no other votes that session, thanks in large part to Sheldon Silver’s influence in the Assembly. The Senate passes the bill for the first time on June 16, 2010, this time by a vote of 32-26, but once again it stalls in the Assembly without any vote.

While MMA was banned in New York, it wasn’t banned across the Hudson, as New Jersey began to reap the benefits. The State Senate passed the bill once again by a vote of 42-18 (10 votes higher than the first vote) on May 23, 2011, and the Tourism committee once again passes the bill, this time 16-3, a week later. Two weeks later, legislative session in the Assembly closes with no vote in the Assembly, thus beginning their summer vacation benefits. The State Senate passes the bill to legalize MMA for the third straight year, this time 43-14 on April 18, 2012, but once again, weeks later, Sheldon Silver said the bill will not come to the floor for a vote that year. The influence of the most powerful man in the Assembly was just too strong to beat.

The following year on March 6, the State Senate passes the bill for the fourth straight year, this time by its widest margin of 47-14, 4 votes up from the previous year. This issue caught the attention of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who said MMA is a possible source of revenue and that’s something the state’s very interested in. Mr. Silver also said he thinks the ban will be overturned but he is not so sure of when that will happen. One thing is for sure, MMA in New York has found its key ally in Albany. The bill to legalize MMA is referred to the Assembly’s Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development committee once again; and while Connecticut and all provinces in Canada lift their ban on MMA, New York was still illegal, with unsanctioned MMA events happen in the Big Apple. But it’s biggest defeat came on June 18, 2013, when the Assembly Democratic Conference debated the bill to legalize and regulate MMA and unfortunately the bill was denied the opportunity of going to the floor for a full vote. While the Senate passed it overwhelmingly, the Assembly denied every opportunity to pass it on their floor.

For a fifth straight year, the New York State Senate passed the bill on May 13, 2014. But the biggest victory came at the expense of an adversary that kept MMA out of New York State for years as Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie was elected Assembly Speaker in early 2015, replacing Sheldon Silver after federal corruption charges got the best of him. Heastie himself was a sponsor of the bill but removed his name from all legislation once he took over as speaker. While all of that was going on in the Assembly, the New York State Senate passed the bill For the sixth straight year on March 24, 2015. Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, another key Ally in the movement to bring MMA back to his state, introduced a re-worked MMA bill that includes the establishment of an insurance fund for fighters who sustain brain injuries and other things. Although State Senators passed that bill for the seventh consecutive time in six years, the bill didn’t reach the Assembly floor for a vote as the legislative session came to an end after given extended days.

In a push to bring MMA back to New York, Governor Cuomo showed his support for legalizing MMA in New York on January 13, 2016 by including including it in his budget proposal. Several MMA stars also lobbied for the ban to be lifted once and for all. On February 1, 2016, for the seventh consecutive year the New York State Senate voted in favor of legalizing MMA. Looks like the movement to bring MMA back to New York has gotten is momentum And finally, after all the debate, the State Assembly FINALLY passed the legislation by a margin of 113-25. 19 years of keeping it banned under the influence of the once powerful man in Albany in Sheldon Silver, state legislators found a way to get the sport back to the Big Apple. Finally, MMA returns to New York with regulation from the Athletic Commission, hopefully utilizing the Unified Rules along the way.

It’s been a long road for MMA to get to where it is now with the Unified Rules, and finally the sport will make it’s now LEGAL return to New York, starting with the UFC in November inside the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden.

MMA is NOW legal in all states, including New York.

(Sources: Newsdaymmafighting.com, Yahoo Sports)

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