Mixed martial arts passed another hurdle in its quest to gain sanctioning in New York, as a bill to regulate the sport sailed through a vote in the state assembly's Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sport Development committee on Monday.
The vote overwhelmingly passed by a 16-3 margin, with two members absent.
Several obstacles, however, still stand in the way of regulated MMA coming to New York.
The bill will now move on to the Codes committee, which passed another version of the bill in 2010 before it died out. Should it pass again, it will move on to the Ways and Means committee, where it stalled last year. From there it would still have to pass a full Assembly vote and be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a tall order given the limited time left in the current session, which is scheduled to end on June 20.
Assemblyman Dean Murray told New York's Newsday
that he's spoken with Cuomo several times about MMA, and he was told, "Dean, if you get it to my desk, I'll sign it."
Interestingly, the committee that passed the bill today has MMA's chief opponent, Bob Reilly as one of its members. Not surprisingly, according to Newsday, Reilly was one of the three to vote against the bill. The others were Democrats John McEneny and Daniel O'Donnell.
With the Assembly still controlled by the Dems, several pundits have suggested that the bill will stall out again. Several politicians in the party have suggested that the bill should not be brought up for an Assembly vote until it is decided upon within the party, even though many believe there are enough Republican votes to join the pro-MMA Democrats in passing the bill.
Whether it passes or fails, we should have our answer on MMA's 2011 fate in New York within two weeks.