Wednesday, January 20, 2010
MMA in New York is Ridiculously Close - But Will New York Be Ready?
The score thus far: a number of legislators are for it, as is former Governor George Pataki, the man who helped ban it back in 1997. Now current Governor David Paterson is pushing for the legalization of pro MMA in New York with his new budget proposal - all of which means we're now ridiculously close to having more than just underground shows in the Empire State. But a new question arises amidst all this sudden optimism: when the sport is legalized, will New York State be ready? According to Governor Paterson's budget proposal, the state anticipates a recurring net revenue of $1.37 million, and to snag that revenue, "Additional staffing is recommended for the Athletic Commission to regulate the conduct of professional mixed martial arts competitions in the State." Additional staffing would include everything from capable referees and judges, to inspectors (usually tasked with making sure nothing shady goes on backstage and ringside), to physicians, to folks on the administrative level (someone's got to push the paper). That's a lot of hiring (which requires funding) - and a lot of training (which requires funding) - and perhaps the biggest reason UFC brass et al. predict no MMA shows in New York until the fourth quarter of 2010. If Governor Paterson gets his way, we could see a signed bill legalizing pro MMA by April. However, don't drink all your champagne then; a state-run show would likely take a while after that.