(A man who never lets the facts influence how he thinks.)
New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly is doing his best to keep mixed martial arts illegal in his home state, an effort that was successful in the past thanks to his idiotic comparisons between MMA and dog fighting. The tide seems to be turning in the state, and legalization now seems inevitable thanks in part to the UFC’s lobbying efforts and the new pro-MMA chairwoman of the Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee, Melvina Lathan.
But Reilly is still fighting it because, well, he just doesn’t like it. And in order to try and prove that it will be bad for the state, he’s prepared to say a bunch of shit that makes no sense at all and come up with brand new flawed comparisons. Here’s Reilly talking with MMA Weekly, explaining how allowing MMA in New York would actually take money out of the local economy:
Ultimate Fighting, that franchise is owned by interests in Las Vegas. If you have a gate in the city of Albany, the live gate would be 4 million dollars. There’s revenue that would stay here, lets us say a half a million. But three and a half million would go right out of our economy and out of our state to Vegas, and I think that’s harmful to our local economy. It doesn’t generate money on a long-time basis. It’s what I call a “false economy.” There’s many examples of this. It’s a stretch from Ultimate Fighting, of course, but our whole problem with our financial industry and whatever. Or gambling, which I think is a better analogy. I think the projections of revenue coming in, you have to look at a bigger picture, and the bigger picture is not so beneficial. And of course, the real money in sports, which isn’t addressed, is the hundreds of millions of dollars taken in by television, especially pay per view.
Got that? MMA would take money out of the economy because not all of the money generated by it would stay in the state. By that logic, any company now doing business within the state of New York that is not headquartered there is also sucking money out of the economy. Take it from the guy who knows all about the “financial industry and whatever.”
It should be noted that Reilly lives near Albany, not New York City. So maybe he doesn’t realize that a show at Madison Square Garden would not only bring in money from existing New Yorkers, but also from outside the state. For every UFC event spectators come from all over the country, purchasing airline tickets, hotel rooms, food, cab rides, and other goods and services, thus injecting money into the local economy. But apparently that’s not good enough for Reilly, because the UFC is also making money off of pay-per-views.
The worst part about this argument is that Reilly doesn’t actually make it. He doesn’t explain why it would be better to have none of the UFC’s money rather than some of it, but instead keeps comparing it to gambling, with brilliant analogies like this one:
If you take Atlantic City for example, you have casinos that are going broke, surrounded by slums. If you look at Las Vegas, basically, the same thing is happening, where 20 months in a row gambling revenue has decreased, and Las Vegas and the growth there has created many slum areas in Las Vegas.
And this relates to MMA how? Reilly doesn’t explain. He only repeats the comparison over and over, without pointing out any way that the two are related. This is the kind of reasoning the UFC is up against in their fight to get the sport legalized.
When it comes down to it, Reilly (a former running coach, he’s careful to mention) just doesn’t like MMA. He thinks it’s too brutal and promotes violence. That, at least, is a somewhat valid opinion that can be supported, though we may ultimately disagree with it. MMA is a violent sport. So is boxing, which Reilly says he’s a fan of, but only the amateur type. As for rule changes that might make MMA acceptable to him, he suggests the following:
I think that the idea that what we’re doing is mixing skills is the problem, too. And I think the rule change would be that when you’re boxing, you box. When you’re wrestling, you wrestle. But there’s a reason why when a boxer falls to one knee or two knees, that the other boxer can’t come up and hit him in the head. And there’s a reason why in wrestling, you can’t hold a guy and at the same time whack him. It’s for the safety of the participant. You can’t do that.
Oh, but you can, Mr. Reilly. It’s called MMA. It’s actually incredibly popular, not to mention safer than boxing. And it’s coming to New York.