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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.

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.