("This one. Right up your ass.")
Despite a high-profile appearance at Madison Square Garden last month in which the UFC announced its intentions to bring MMA to New York State — as well as a reported $75,000 in palm-grease to Andrew Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign — MMA Payout broke the news last night that Governor Cuomo neglected to include a provision in the state’s 2011-2012 budget that would sanction MMA in New York. In fact, Cuomo’s Executive Budget actually proposes eliminating the chairperson of the state athletic commission altogether. So not only is the Governor not backing MMA as Zuffa had hoped, he doesn’t seem to have a high opinion of combat sports in general.
At this point, the MMA ban in New York can still be lifted through the more traditional route of a legislative bill — of which there are currently two in the assembly and one in the senate, all awaiting review — but we saw how well that worked last time. Making MMA part of the state budget was supposed to be the easy way in, and it just ain’t happening. If I were Dana White, I’d be furious right now. Money has been donated. Big press conferences have been held. And now, the current timetable of MMA regulation in New York is: Who freakin’ knows?
MMAJunkie passes along some somber words from the Baldfather himself:
The news drew frustration today from UFC president Dana White, who said he is "done with predictions in New York."
"Absolutely," White told MMAjunkie.com when asked whether the exclusion was a setback. "It’s just one of those things.
"At the end of the day, do we really need New York? No. But New York should be open. We should be able to do it."…
White said feedback on the promotion’s current lobbying efforts has been "all positive."
Clearly, though, today’s news revealed a divide between rhetoric and the political realities of the financially strapped state.
"New York is just such a crazy place to navigate politically," he said. "We all know it’s ridiculous that this thing isn’t sanctioned in New York."…
While White executive refuses to give up the fight to get UFC events into New York, you won’t hear him giving any predictions on when that will become a reality.
"Whenever it happens, it happens," White said.
Considering the toxic political environment in New York, we’re not holding our breath that MMA legalization will just "happen" one day. But with three bills floating around the legislature, there’s always hope for a miracle…