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For New York MMA, it's wait until next year, again

Kirby Lee, US Presswire

At some point, mixed martial arts will be legal in New York. That is nearly a certainty. Support for the sport continues to grow year by year. It is omnipresent on television. There are no other states that actively ban it. To continue the charade cited by some legislators, that they are somehow protecting their constituents from a violent activity seems ridiculous. But for now, that's still the reality for MMA in the Empire state.

The push to legalize the sport has stalled out again in 2013. According to various New York news outlets, state Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver has once again tabled the bill, denying it a chance for a full vote on the floor before the current Assembly session ends on Thursday.

Silver said more than 40 of 104 Assembly Democrats opposed the bill. The bill had 64 co-sponsors.

Apparently, the former number seemed to matter more than the latter. According to the New York Daily News, the majority party rarely puts a bill on the floor they can pass without assistance from the minority party. Most observers believe the bill had enough Republican support to pass.

"The Democratic conference determines the agenda," Silver said.

The bill has passed the state Senate four times, and did so again this year. The bill seemed to pick up momentum as the UFC teased the possibility of a November super fight at Madison Square Garden for an event that would mark the 20th anniversary of the inaugural UFC show. But that quickly waned as the bill faced renewed opposition from groups who claimed MMA fosters a culture of violence, misogyny and homophobia.

In a lengthy statement, UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta refuted those claims while voicing disappointment in the decision of the Assembly Speaker, but said eventual state sanctioning is "inevitable."

"To paraphrase a famous movie line, we’ll be back," Fertitta said in the close of his statement.

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