Thursday, September 16, 2010

Strong Showing by New York Fighters Last Night -- Nothing Great to Report on the Legalization of MMA Effort in New York

Despite the ban on MMA in New York -- I have written extensively about the ban here -- New Yorkers still had a great showing last night. 

At UFN 22, Renzo Gracie black belt David Branch improved to 7-1 with a unanimous decision victory (30-27 across the board) over Tomasz Drwal.

Next, on the Ultimate Fighter, Spencer Paige, who according to Bloody Elbow trains at Central NY MMA, advanced  to the house with decision victory over Steve Magdaleno.

New York was also represented when Marc Stevens, who fights out of Lorraine, New York and who wrestled at the University of Buffalo when Josh Koscheck was an assistant coach there, took on T.J. O'Brien.

As MMAJunkie points out, Koscheck only vaguely remembers Stevens and "wonders aloud if his skills stretch beyond the wrestling mat. . . .  Referee Steve Mazzagatti gets the action started, and Marc quickly drops his opponent with a lopping overhand right. The punch lands solid, as do the dozen follow-up shots that prompt a quick, 13-second knockout."

Bottom line, great night for New York fighters.

This brings me to an update on MMA in New York.  The legislative session is over and the budget has been passed and so another year goes by and MMA is still illegal.  The parallel bills to legalize MMA will be re-introduced in the Assembly and the Senate next year and the path to legalization remains the same.

As I posted here, it is my view that the fact that the Assembly Speaker has now specifically stated that he is not "enamored" with the idea of mixed martial arts in the state means that the bill has virtually no probability of reaching the Assembly floor for a vote, i.e. it is not going to pass.  Silver is not only the Speaker of the Assembly, controlling the legislative body, but he also chairs the Rules Committee, which has final say on this bill before it reaches the full Assembly for a vote.

As a recent New York Post piece, Shelly's schtick, concludes:
Silver is far and away the most powerful legislator in Albany; he personally appointed the state's top fiscal watchdog; his pick runs New York's schools, public and private -- and he enjoys substantial influence over the courts.
And he's complaining about dictators?
It is indeed to laugh.
Next up for the speaker is Andrew Cuomo, by all credible accounts New York's next governor.
'We've worked with Andrew in the past,' Silver said Monday.
Translation: 'Come into my parlor,' said the spider to the fly. Who'll be taking dictation when it's over, we wonder?
Despite Silver's control (and his view concerning MMA), the public generally focuses on Assemblyman Bob Reilly when it discusses the opposition to MMA.  It is true that Reilly is on the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development, which is where the bill originates in the Assembly, but the bill has passed (i.e. been referred) out of that Committee in 2009 and 2010

Thus, it is clearly not his presence on the Tourism committee that is fatal to the bill, but it is instead the fact that he apparently has the Assembly Speaker's ear on the issue.  Given the vehemence with which Reilly opposes MMA (at this point there is no convincing him), the focus should be on the Speaker.

Nonetheless, because he is the most vocal opponent, everyone focuses on him.  In fact, Inside MMA recently had Reilly as a guest and, unfortunately, provided an open platform, without debate, for him to articulate his misguided views.  (As an aside, I do not receive HDNet because Time Warner Cable made the terrible decision to cut the channel from the lineup, but it appears from clips that I have seen that Reilly did not participate in a debate.) 

Putting aside his overuse of "violence" to compensate for the fact that he had nothing really intelligent to say on the topic (many other writers broke down his assertions and I won't do so here), one thing that he said did stick out.  Unfortunately, nobody called him on it.

As Cagepotato transcribes from the interview, Reilly stated as follows:  "'We don't want prostitution here and we don't want dogfighting here and we don't want Ultimate Fighting here.'" 

Really Assemblyman Reilly?  Who is we and, if that is the case, why don't we let the Assembly vote and see if you are right?  The Senate and the Governor obviously disagreed this year.

As Assemblyman Engelbricht, Chair of the Tourism Committee and a democrat, stated in an interview with MMAJunkie:
"If we were able to get it to the floor, we'd probably pass it with Republican votes," Englebright said. "But there is a desire, I think, on the part of many of the members of our Democratic majority to resolve this matter satisfactorily within our own [party] before submitting it to the uncertainties of a debate."

So, stated differently, the bill would pass if the full Assembly had the opportunity to vote -- as it should, but the majority will prevent that from happening until there is a consensus (or satisfactory resolution of the matter whatever that means).  Bottom line, the Speaker needs to be on board and, for now, he is not.

Fight Lawyer