Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Deconstructing Governor Paterson's Proposed NY MMA Bill

Yeah, so, Governor David Paterson wants MMA in New York State and he wants it now, and he even had his people draw up a bill that would make it legal and kosher and approved by nine out of ten dentists who chew Trident gum. That’s right, it’s a brand-spanking new bill to legalize MMA and quite unlike the one that was almost passed last year, this one full of all sorts of goodies like tax rates and payouts based on attendance and what I think is Braille (it’s hard to tell over the Internet). Anyway, MMA Journalist has examined the text, and here are some of the more salient points:

    • “Combative sports” are still banned and “martial arts” are not, with professional mixed martial arts falling under the “martial arts” exception. “Professional mixed martial arts” is defined as any MMA bout where the participants are paid (or receive some form of compensation). Translation: hello unpaid amateur MMA loophole! Here, sit down and have a drink. You know, we thought you were going to leave us, but instead it looks like you’re here to stay.
    • A “professional mixed martial arts participant” is defined as any paid fighter, or coach, or trainer, or someone who “pursues or assists in the practice of mixed martial arts” for dough. Translation: the State can regulate everybody who makes a buck off the sport – and even regulate gyms where sparring occurs.
    • “No person or entity shall have, either directly or indirectly, any financial interest in a professional mixed martial arts participant competing on premises owned or leased by the person or entity, or in which such person or entity is otherwise interested.” Translation: I guess venue owners can’t bet on or sponsor fighters?
    • No mismatches allowed. However, “nothing in this subdivision shall authorize the commission to intervene… solely on the basis of the difference between respective participant’s martial arts disciplines.” Translation: Muay Thai vs. Tai Chi is a go!
    • “No participant shall be allowed to participate in more than three matches or exhibitions or compete for more than sixty minutes within seventy-two consecutive hours.” Translation: eight-man tournaments are good; sixteen-man tournaments are bad. Very bad.
    • All promoters must have insurance coverage for the fighters. If a fighter is injured, the minimum limit of coverage is fifty-thousand bucks. If a fighter dies, the minimum limit is a hundred-thousand bucks. Translation: getting injured and dying might be worthwhile. For your family, at least.


Unknown said...

Really, no comments about the 8.5% gate tax??? I think this is a bit high and will raise ticket prices and cut into fighter purses. I think it might serve to squelch local promotions from proliferating within the state and also keep the UFC out of the upstate NY markets, which are the places that could really use the economic boost. That said, some MMA is better than no MMA.

By the way, Jim, where did you find the text of the bill? I was only able to find the 2009 version in my search. Thanks.

Jim Genia said...

The high tax is going to keep shows in remote places like VFW halls in Rochester or nightclubs on Long Island, where the venue will waive the rental fee in exchange for keeping the money made off concession sales. Shoot me an email and I'll send you a link to Paterson's bill.