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MMA in New York Will Have to Wait Again, as 2012 Bill Stalls Out

Michael Cohen, Getty Images
Michael Cohen, Getty Images
Getty Images

Another year, another disappointment for fans of mixed martial arts in New York.

In a scene that is getting to be reminiscent of Lucy snatching the football away from Charlie Brown just as he gets ready to kick, New York state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver has again decided against bringing MMA to a vote despite seemingly growing support for it.

In a Monday report by The Daily News, Silver confirmed the bill had effectively stalled.

Silver's conclusion came after a Democratic conference of Assembly members. According to the report, Silver, who decides what bills come to the floor for a vote, determined that the bill did not have enough support to pass, although another source told the newspaper that among those in the room, 60 legislators intended to vote for it, and only 25 did not.

The source told the News that Silver alleged that others had privately expressed their opposition to the bill, changing the count.

Officially, he told the paper, the issue "was pretty evenly divided."

Not surprisingly, the UFC immediately expressed disappointment with the decision, with its vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner saying that he felt "150 percent" confident the bill would have passed if it went to the Assembly for a full vote.

Legislation geared towards regulating MMA has passed the state's senate as well as Assembly committees in 2012 as well as several years in the past. This year's bill easily sailed through the senate by a 43-14 vote.

In 2011, the UFC promised the state two major events within the first calendar year of sanctioning, which would generate around $16 million in economic activity. That hasn't been enough yet to even get Silver to give Assembly member a chance to vote on it.

Silver told the Daily News that the situation was "evolving," basically suggesting that MMA will have a better chance of being sanctioned by the state in the future, but given the history of disappointment, that can hardly be considered good news.

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