- Jeff Blatnik did a fantastic job answering every question regarding the safety of the sport. Someone should seriously be paying him for his work.
- Zuffa was freakin' brilliant in hiring Marc Ratner as their VP of Regulatory Affairs. His opinion and perspective carried a lot of weight, and you could see that in how the others in the room listened to him.
- Melvina Lathan and Edwin Torres of the NYSAC are very open to getting MMA into the state. They both come from extensive boxing backgrounds, but they had absolutely none of those boxing prejudices that have so long plagued the sport.
- When MMA gets regulated in New York, the athletic commission is going to hunt down and execute underground promoters like Darth Vader hunted down the last surviving Jedi.
- Assemblyman Steven Englebright ended things on a very positive note. If things go as planned, expect pro MMA in the state by the third or fourth quarter of 2009.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
James Leary, legal counsel for the NYSAC, is pitching the new law that would empower the commission to sanction the sport. Yikes. If this specific bill gets passed, anyone who gets paid to compete - or who gets paid to teach MMA or "pursue or assist in the practice of mixed martial arts" - will be considered a "professional combative sports participant". Good lord, where did this guy go to law school? That's never going to survive a legal challenge.
NYSAC Commissioner Melvina Lathan gets the conch shell and her chief concern is the vast number of underground fights in the state. She's worried about the unregulated nature of these events, including the lack of record keeping, and her main gripe is that the athletic commission lacks the manpower to do anything about it. You can bet there's going to be a big underground fight/smoker crackdown when MMA gets regulated in NYS.
A few words on Jeff Blatnik: for those who don't remember the role he played in getting the sport on track in the early days, then let this serve as a reminder that the man has worked tirelessly to educate state officials - in New York especially - on MMA. He's here today because he was invited by the assemblymen sponsoring the bill, and before the proceedings get underway he tells me his chief concern is for the unfettered growth of, not just the UFC, but for the smaller shows - shows which will happen far more frequently than the UFC rolling into town.
MMA Journalist is live in downtown New York City blogging the New York State Assembly roundtable on the legalization of MMA in the Empire State. What the heck is a "roundtable"? Basically, just a chance for the UFC to rap about how much money the sport can bring to the state. Assemblyman Steven Englebright is the master of ceremonies, and in attendence thus far are Marc Ratner and Jeff Blatnik. After telling Ratner that he was my hero, he replied to me: "We'll get this done."