In response to a post on Sherdog today addressing this blog article and asking about whether MMA will come to New York this year, I responded as set forth below. I had planned on doing a post like this anyway, i.e. a post with my thoughts on whether the ban will be lifted this year, but since I addressed it today here it is.
The ban on MMA in New York will get lifted eventually, but in my opinion it doesn't look good for this year. I say this because (as stated in the article) the Assembly's version of the budget bill (unlike the Governor's budget and the Senate's version) does not contain a provision amending the law that contains the ban. This could be because of Assemblyman Reilly's letter to Speaker Silver (which would not be good at all), but even if it isn't, the fact that Speaker Silver excluded the provision from the Assembly's version of the budget is bad. Speaker Silver is extremely powerful -- even more so now that Governor Paterson has his issues and there are issues surrounding the Senate leadership. If Silver is against a bill lifting the ban, it spells trouble for the future of MMA under any scenario (hopefully, of course, the fact that the Assembly's budget does not include a provision lifting the ban doesn't mean that the Speaker is opposed at all).
As I have recently posted at my Fight Lawyer blog, there are really two avenues currently on the table for lifting the ban on MMA and both go through the Assembly. As set forth above, the budget can get passed with a provision lifting the ban negating the need for the bill to move through the entire committee process. Alternatively, there is a bill in the Assembly that is currently referred to the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development.
As you may recall, until last year, the bill stalled in the Tourism Committee largely due to Assemblyman Reilly' efforts. Last year, however, the bill made it through Tourism, then made it through the Codes Committee, and ultimately stalled out in the Ways & Means Committee. Because it stalled, it needed to be reintroduced again this year in the Tourism Committee -- essentially it started over. Under either scenario above, however, ultimately the Speaker controls the bill's destiny even if and after it makes it through all of the committees. Accordingly, if Speaker Silver is against it, the prospect of a bill's passage is not good.
Worth noting that even if a similar bill was introduced in the Senate, was reported through the Senate committees, and received the necessary majority vote in the Senate, it would STILL need to be approved by the Assembly by a majority and without amendment before going to the Governor for signature.
Bottom line, I think it will happen -- and I am going to do everything I can to make it happen (so should you by calling your assemblyman etc.) -- but I am not confident that it will happen this year…