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Tag: legalization

Assemblyman Rob Walker Launches Facebook Group for MMA Support in New York

(Do it for the Hammer, the Terror, and Bones.)

With the vote to lift the ban on MMA in New York State imminent (or so we hear), our NY state assemblyman friend Rob Walker has taken to Facebook to drum up some more support. In the mission statement for his newly-launched group "Support Mixed Martial Arts in New York State," Walker writes the following:

I have been in talks with representatives from the UFC and we are trying to pass a bill that will allow for the sanction of the UFC. By joining this group we hope that it will help show people how much people want to see the sport be once again allowed in New York. The problem we are having is the miss conception of what the sport is. It has been called, "Human Cock Fighting" it has been criticized by everyone but what people do not realize is how far the sport has come.

Matt Serra to NY Legislators: Please Let Me Fight in Front of a Crowd That Likes Me

(Most honest post-fight reaction…eva.)

Strong Island native Matt “The Terra” Serra has penned a piece for Newsday appealing to New York legislators to lift the ban on MMA and regulate events in his home state.  He makes some of the same arguments we’ve all been making/hearing for years – it brings in money, it isn’t that violent, it’s not as bad as boxing, etc. – but Serra is in the unique position of being able to lead with this very personal appeal to emotion:

Last April, I fought Georges St. Pierre in a rematch of the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title match. Our sport is banned in New York, and this fight was held in Montreal, St. Pierre’s hometown. The sold-out crowd of 21,000 was less than welcoming – everywhere I went that weekend, I heard jeers and boos. When I eventually lost the match, the cheers for my opponent were deafening.

Exclusive: Interview with N.Y. State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, Part Two

This is part two of my talk for this article with New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly.  If you missed it, you can read part one here.  Once again, I’d like to thank Mr. Reilly for talking with me and explaining his position.  You should also check out the SI article for some rebuttal comments from the UFC’s Marc Ratner.

You say you think MMA would be financially harmful to the state.  How would it harm New York to allow the sport and the UFC to hold events there?

You know, I got the study the UFC did, and based on their studies, they use Buffalo, but I use Albany since they’re similar cities, we have an arena here in Albany that seats about 19,000.  They would say they would bring in about $4 million in the live gate here.  They say the tax revenue would add about half a million to the local economy.  And I say, yes, but at the same time three and a half million would head back to Vegas.  

And here’s where I get a little heady, because just about every casino in this country is surrounded by poverty.  If you go out to Turning Stone in our state, where the people who run it say it’s the only successful economic development we have, but in every case, whether it’s Turning Stone or Atlantic City or Las Vegas, these are sumptuous palaces surrounded by poverty.  And that’s who runs the UFC is these Las Vegas casino owners.  So if they come here the same thing would happen.  You can’t take three and a half million bucks out of the economy and expect it to work.  We made the mistake already of thinking that gambling will save us from this economic recession, but let’s not add to it and think this is the savior.


Exclusive: Interview with N.Y. State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, Part One

My column this week on deals with the legislative fight over MMA in New York State.  At the center of this battle, as you probably know, is Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who is a committed opponent of the sport.  Mr. Reilly and I are obviously on different sides of the issue, but he was gracious enough to take the time and explain his position, and for that I thank him.  Part one of our talk is below.  Check back for part two later today, and head on over to SI for UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner’s response to Reilly’s arguments against the sport.

You’ve said before that this isn’t your big issue, that you’re really into agriculture.  And yet this is the issue that’s gotten you the most attention.  Do you still feel like you’re reluctant opponent of MMA, because you seem to have embraced it rather eagerly of late.

That’s a tough question to answer.  What happens is, in the state legislature, with the hundreds of laws we vote on and a budget of maybe $120 billion with a $14 billion deficit and a worldwide financial crisis, there are many, many things we look at.  And when I said agriculture is one thing I’m interested in, that’s one thing.  I’m on the sub-committee on agriculture, but I’m also on the Racing and Wagering Committee, I’m on the Corporations Committee, so there are many other things I do besides this. 

But do I think this is an important thing?  Yes.  I think it’s going to be harmful to people.  I think it’s going to be harmful to our society and harmful to our economy.  So it’s one of things I address.  The legalization of MMA in New York State, I would say the only person pushing that or interested in it is Steve Englebright, the sponsor.  There aren’t a lot of other legislators pushing for it.  As I explored it further and became more educated on it, I changed my opinion and become more opposed to it.  

You say it’s going to be harmful to people.  How, specifically, will allowing live events of this sport in your state harm people?


NY Assemblyman Bob Reilly Releases Data From Completely Scientific, Unbiased Poll About ‘Ultimate Fighting’

(Who would answer a phone call from a strange number and take the time to respond to an automated poll question? These people.)

Just because we haven’t heard from New York Assemblyman Bob Reilly lately, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hard at work making our lives miserable. On Friday, we passed along a link to a news article about the poll that Reilly had recently commissioned to gauge his district’s support for legalizing MMA. Said Reilly via press release: 

"The poll found overwhelming opposition to making Mixed Martial Arts legal in New York State. Of those surveyed, 67 percent said they opposed making MMA legal in New York. Just 18 percent said they supported making ultimate fighting legal. I believe my district is reflective of the state as a whole and am confident a statewide poll would yield similar results."

Of course, the UFC immediately questioned the validity of the poll — which just 468 people responded to, out of 8,545 people who were harassed via telephone. UFC spokesperson Julie Wood called the results unrepresentative, considering the sole method of polling was through telephone, and that the poll question itself showed an inherent bias.

CagePotato reader Jeb R. sent us the official summary of Reilly’s poll — which includes the original poll question, and can be seen after the jump in its entirety — along with this note:

[Reilly] also had some colorful comments to local reporters at a press conference in Albany, NY today. When asked about the money this would bring in, he sarcastically said that bringing prostitution to New York would bring in revenue, too.

Potato Nation, this is the unbelievable level of ignorance we’re dealing with. But the fight is far from over. Please sign our "Lift the Ban on MMA in New York" petition if you haven’t already, and direct your friends to do the same. Another vote on the bill that would legalize MMA in New York State is expected to be held sometime this year.


Vote to Legalize MMA in New York Postponed

Mandy Moore UFC
(Think of it this way, New York legislators: Every time you stall on the vote, you’re robbing Mandy Moore of her joy.)
MMA Mania passes along a bit of bad news regarding the fight to lift the ban on MMA in New York State:

MMA is currently unregulated in New York, and appeared to be on the verge of being sanctioned in 2008, but some eleventh-hour concerns from uneducated members of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development scuttled its passage.
Another session on the matter began in the state capital on January 7 and was expected to reconvene on February 11.
No longer.
“Budget issues” are expected to monopolize the entire schedule for the immediate future, effectively pushing non-critical items (like MMA sanctioning) to the legislative back burner…[W]ith an obstacle as broad and sweeping as “Budget issues,” who can even say when that vote will be.

If there’s a bright side to this unfortunate setback, it’s that it gives the MMA community more time to spread awareness of this issue to the uninformed. Please do your part by signing our "Lift the Ban on MMA in New York" petition (if you haven’t already), and sending the link to every MMA fan and New Yorker that you know. I’m sure we can get this thing to over 10,000 signatures before it’s time to present it to New York’s Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development. Thanks so much, everybody…


AP Story on UFC’s Battle for Legalization in New York Will Make You Laugh, Cry, and Continue to Hate Bob Reilly

(Oh, you fickle lady, you.)

In the old days it used to take something near to a seismic event to get the Associated Press to move a story on MMA.  That’s slowly changing, and this new report on the UFC’s legalization efforts in New York is a great example.  It’s all the same rhetoric from all the same interested parties that we’ve heard before, but once again Assemblyman Bob Reilly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to opening his mouth and allowing idiotic sounds to escape:

"What the people from Ultimate Fighting will tell you is that ‘We’ve changed the rules and it’s no longer this brutal, no-holds-barred sport that it was in the past,"’ Assemblyman Bob Reilly said. "That’s far from the whole story. What they don’t tell you is what is allowed. Kicking to the head. Kneeing them. Sitting on top of them and repeatedly punching them in the head and face. They don’t tell you those things."

They don’t?  Are they somehow hoping to keep it a secret?  

You have to love Reilly’s almost child-like understanding of what goes on in an MMA bout.  Sitting on someone and punching them.  Yeah, that’s a nuanced perspective if you’re an eight-year-old and you only recognize the mount position as that thing your older brother does to you when he finds that you rifled through his stash of nudie magazines.  And this is the man trying his best to keep the sport out of the state of New York.

But in case you’re wondering where Reilly’s peculiar little grudge against MMA comes from, he’d like you to know that it’s not really that big a deal to him:


N.Y. Assemblyman Explains Opposition to MMA, Reveals Himself to Be Uncommonly Stupid

(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.”


UFC’s Battle to Legalize MMA in NY Begins (Again) Tomorrow

(MSG: You don’t know excitement until you hear 20,000 Long Island accents howling in unison. Photo courtesy of

Though a previous UFC-led effort to legalize mixed martial arts in New York State fell apart last year, the cause is not lost. A legislative session will re-address the issue tomorrow in Albany, which could lead to MMA being placed under the regulation of the New York State Athletic Commission, and open the doors for a historic fall UFC show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. And why might the current push for NY legalization be more successful than the last one? For one thing, New York State now has an Athletic Commission chairperson who’s sympathetic to the sport. Also, the state’s economy is in the crapper and they need every dollar they can get. As ESPN writes:

[Governor David] Paterson is cutting programs and paychecks to address a $15 billion deficit in the state budget, and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered $1.4 billion in budget cuts last month. Ignoring the income MMA and the UFC could bring to the state and city would seem fiscally irresponsible.
"At a time when the New York economy is in crisis, it would be a mistake for the state to miss out on the considerable revenue that our events would generate," said Marc Ratner, a UFC vice president for Government and Regulatory Affairs. "We are eager to bring both the excitement of our new sport as well as its major tax and tourist revenue to New York State."

An independent economic impact study commissioned by the UFC showed that a UFC event would generate $11.5 million for New York City in tax and tourist revenue — which could be just the right amount of grease for the wheels to start turning. The bill (#S02858, FYI) will need to pass through New York’s House and Senate, then get a signature from Gov. Patterson. If all goes well, the UFC will hit Madison Square Garden in the fall, then Buffalo, then Albany.


Dana White Announces Plan to Attack Toronto

Dana White
(He’s wearing a hockey jersey! What more do Canadians want?)

So you thought you could keep the UFC out forever, eh, Toronto? You and the whole province of Ontario, just hanging out, watching hockey and that bullshit Canadian football, thinking you’re safe from MMA just because it’s technically illegal there. Well there’s one thing you didn’t plan on: Dana fucking White. And now he’s coming for you, and he won’t take no for an answer:

“I’m going after Canada after (I get approval in) New York and Massachusetts. I’m attacking Canada. I’m going to spend so much time in Canada I’ll have to buy a house. I’m going to live here until it’s done. I’m going to be sitting on the porch every day they come to work.”

You see what you’ve done, Toronto? You’ve forced Dana White to start stalking you. It’s like you’re Heather Locklear and White is me circa 1995. What can I say, it was a phase. Then she got old and starting appreciating the attention and I moved on with my life. It’s a whole thing I’d rather not get into. The point is, Toronto, I doubt you’ll be so lucky.

As much as Canadians seem to love MMA, it’s hard to understand the resistance to it at this point. But I guess you could say the same thing for New York. Eventually they’ll all give in, and they know it, so why not just quit stop screwing around and accept it. Unless this is all an elaborate ploy to see if Dana White will really buy that house. And he will. But damn, is the real estate market that bad even in Canada?