(originally posted at bullshido.net)
So, yesterday I went to a rally in front of New York State Governor Cuomo's Manhattan office that was organized largely by [The Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY]. There I had a little chat with former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin where he said that women in MMA were going to be needed to speak out in order to get this thing done.
The full article is over here at The Fight Nerd.
The short version is that last year everyone was pretty confident going in because the support for MMA in the two houses of the New York State legislature was considerably more than what was necessary to see the ban finally lifted. Then, a committee chair by the name of Herman Farrell proved that one guy, in the right position, can derail an entire legislative landslide victory.
Committee chairs control what actually gets on the agenda to make it to a vote. So, even if a committee would pass a bill 17-1, if that one person is the chair it will never get that far.
This year, a chairwoman by the name of Margaret Markey is putting the breaks on the bill for MMA in the Assembly even though it's close to passing already in the Senate. Markey's office has been very careful not to actually make any statements as to her opinion on the subject, probably thinking the best thing to do is make it quietly go away.
Markey also has made her career campaigning on legislative issues that effect women. So, it is the considered opinion of the former assemblyman that this women's history month, female athletes in MMA or making their living from teaching combat sports need to contact Markey and make it a women's issue if the log jam is to be broken up.
So, if there's anyone out there who wants to see a ban on MMA lifted in New York either because you are a citizen of the state or just in solidarity with those who have put their boots on the ground for this one, please spread the word. Women athletes need to contact Markey's office and tell her how important the sport is to them and how it has positively effected their lives.
The Assemblywoman's contact information can be found on the bottom of this page. http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=030
For some other perspectives from or about women and MMA, check these past posts: