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Yet Another Setback for MMA in New York

Mixed martial arts is still illegal in New York, and that won't change any time soon.

Despite optimism from the UFC and its fans that MMA would be legalized and regulated in the state soon enough that a UFC event at Madison Square Garden could happen this year, the New York Daily News reports that Democrats in the State Assembly decided to pull MMA regulation out of a budget bill that could be voted on as soon as Tuesday.

New York Governor David Paterson is in favor of legalizing MMA and has noted that it doesn't make much sense to turn down UFC events -- which would bring in more than $2 million in taxes -- when the state is in the midst of a serious budget crunch. But Paterson's allies in the State Assembly didn't back him on that.

"The majority of voices who spoke about this issue in our conference were not supportive of approving it as part of the budget," said Assemblyman Steven Englebright, who added that it's a long shot the Assembly will revisit the issue.

So we're highly unlikely to see MMA in New York this year, and as this year was considered the best chance MMA has had in the state, it's entirely possible that it will be many years before the sport does get legalized.

The UFC is to be commended for all the work it's done to try to get the sport legalized in New York, but at some point they may need to pull the plug on their lobbying expenses. Legislators and lobbyists have been known to drag their feet on issues in order to keep the lobbying money flowing, and with all the fits and starts we've seen with MMA in New York, it's hard not to get the feeling that that's exactly what's happening here. Maybe the UFC would be better off not spending any money in New York at all, and using regular events in New Jersey to remind New Yorkers of what they're missing.