Stick a fork in the 2011 movement to get sanctioned MMA back into New York, because she is done. Assembly bill number A04146A – which passed through the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development by a margin of 16-3 and passed through the Codes Committee 17-1 – fell into limbo in the Ways and Means Committee, and failed to appear on that committee’s calendar for a vote before the last day of the legislative session (which is today). In layman’s terms, the bill got far, just not far enough.
What we learned (or re-learned) in this go-around:
— Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who’s been MMA’s most vocal opponent in New York State, continues to remain marginalized. For the third year in a row, he’s been out-voted in his committee (Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development) whenever the issue has arisen.
— Ways and Means Committee Chairman Herman Farrell is the new face of the opposition. He could’ve put the MMA bill on the agenda for a vote, but instead put it on ice. Why? It’s safe to say he’s not a fan.
“I don’t think very much of the sport,” Farrell said. “Next we’ll give them clubs with spikes on the end; that will be good.”
— Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver isn’t much of a fan himself. Or, at the very least, he doesn’t quite have a handle on who in his legislative house is for MMA and who is against. In a statement last week, Silver stated that there “does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for legislation”. However, some informal polling by Assemblyman Dean Murray (MMA’s “friend in high places” in 2011) says otherwise.
— Despite an impassioned editorial in one of New York City’s high-volume daily papers by none other than Dana White, and visits to Albany (the seat of the New York State government) by numerous fighters, the bill failed to cross the finish line. However, the concurrent Senate bill was approved, and only one Assembly committee stood between failure and a general floor vote (the last stage of the process), so that’s something.
Ultimately, all this legislative wrangling just means that the process must start from square one next year. But we get closer every time, and now we know who our real legislative enemies are. Who can say what 2012 will bring?