Over the last year or more, I have advocated for the legalization and regulation of professional mixed martial arts (MMA). In 2009, and in last year’s state budget, with
facing large fiscal deficits, I supported legalizing New York MMA because of its tremendous revenue generating potential. With 44 states, the District of Columbia, and many countries around the globe regulating the sport, and reaping the economic rewards of holding professional bouts and exhibitions, can ill afford to remain on the sidelines as the only state with an outright ban. In 2011, the State Legislature must pass legislation authorizing the State Athletic Commission to regulate Mixed Martial Arts, the fastest growing sport in the world. New York
Independent economic studies have verified that just one
MMA show in New York City would generate over $11 million and a show in upstate would generate over $5 million. New York MMA exhibitions fill hotel rooms and restaurants over the course of a full weekend, stimulating locally depressed economic businesses and regions. Many states including New Jersey and have had huge success in hosting Pennsylvania MMA exhibitions. A recent MMA exhibition in sold out with gate receipts alone totaling $4 million -- including many ticket sold to New Yorkers. Newark, New Jersey
The popularity and mainstream acceptance of the sport is evident by the major sponsors of the exhibitions, which include Microsoft, Budweiser and the US Army.
Safety of MMA participants is paramount, and the proposed language of previous Senate and Assembly bills ensure that New York will be one of the most diligent states in enforcing safety measures. The sport’s safety record – over thousands of bouts – can match and, in most cases, exceed any contact sport. The sport requires a high degree of physical training and skill, with participants averaging about two matches annually. Regulation will ensure safety by eliminating unsanctioned underground matches that are occurring in
Fmr Assembly Member (D-Bronx)