On Wednesday, March 6th the NYS Senate passed legislation that would legalize and regulate professional MMA. If this is all too familiar, it should be. This is the 4th year in a row the Senate has passed such legislation only to see the companion bill stall in the Assembly at the hands of Speaker Sheldon Silver.
On the heels of the Senate's passage of the bill, Silver made another one of his vague statements noting that he expects NY to have MMA one day. So, the jury is still out on this year with regard to the Assembly. Nevertheless with Majority Leader Morelle sponsoring the Assembly's companion legislation, Silver may feel more inclined to allow a vote this year.
In the shadow of this legislative pontification is tomorrow's deadline for the settlement process mandated by Judge Kimba Wood during the Zuffa, et. al vs NYS trial on February 13th. In short, representatives for the NY Attorney General stated in court that were a professional MMA promoter to seek sanctioning from one of the approved 3rd party sanctioning bodies in NY, it would be legal. Lawyers representing Zuffa, et. al. then quickly asked for confirmation and assurance that promotion of a live professional event would not lead to prosecution; noting that if the state would confirm this, there would be no reason to continue the trial. With NYS's lawyer unable to give said confirmation, Judge Wood ordered an attempt at settlement with a March 8th deadline.
Now we sit waiting to see what the Assembly will do with regard to its MMA legislation and what will become of the settlement proceedings. Though no legislators have commented publicly on the trial to my knowledge, I suspect the settlement results will have a significant impact on the how Silver will stand with regard to this legislation (if it has not already influenced him). If the trial is dropped and a legal pathway for profesional MMA is established, outside the regulation of NYS Athletic Commission, I suspect we will see the Assembly pass the legislation this year. After all, what state will pass up on those tax dollars?