Recently, Ultimate Fighting Championship released a study claiming New York stood to gain over 200 jobs and $23 million in annual revenue by allowing sanctioned matches in the state. Yet Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2011 budget submission had the language making MMA events legal stripped out before being sent to the state legislature.
You would think that in a state with a $10 billion budget deficit, any initiative that resulted in net gain to state coffers would be welcomed. However, opponents insist any benefit is outweighed the dangers of MMA as a sport.
It would be one thing if the naysayers had a compelling argument. However, it's the same old rhetoric that reared its ugly head during debate in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Hysterical references to blood and death feature prominently.
The worst offender is the de facto leader of the opposition, Assemblyman Bob Reilly. His circular arguments add more heat than light to any discussion. Yet Mr. Reilly is very influential, and appears to be behind many of the procedural roadblocks that have been placed in the way of legislation.
According to one supporter, "Boxing, wrestling, kickboxing - these are all legal sports in New York. It doesn't make sense for them to be illegal combined." It will be interesting to see how long it's going to take lawmakers in New York to see the sense in this argument.
Photo by U.S. Army