If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it's that you can predict what's going to happen in Albany about as well as you can predict if BJ Penn has actually done cardio. Yes, I'm talking about the legalization of MMA in New York, and yes, I'm talking about how damn close we are again to getting it done. Just like last year, the bill that would allow the UFC into Madison Square Garden has passed through the toughest committee in the Assembly and it must get through a couple of other committees before it can go to the Assembly floor for a vote. However, unlike last year, the Senate has done their part by passing their own version of the bill. So, this is what I know (and take it with a huge grain of salt. We’re talking about politicians and the great mysteries of the legislative process, after all):
- The sands in the hourglass have run out on legislative sessions, but the Assembly is still meeting to get a state budget done. The state budget is almost three months overdue.
- The governor is all for the legalization of MMA, and would sign the bill if the Assembly passes it.
- The governor included MMA in his part of the budget proposal, as did the Senate, so if the bill doesn’t get passed to legalize the sport, the budget proposal – once approved – would accomplish the same thing.
- Matt Serra was sent by Zuffa to Albany yesterday. Zuffa thinks it’s close.
- I was told by an insider that it’s close. This person knows their stuff, and will likely play an important role in MMA in New York.
- The New York State Athletic Commission, while not entirely prepared to hit the ground running, has been doing some work to get ready.
- According to the text, if the bill going through the legislature passes, then there will be no more underground shows. If the bill attached to the budget proposal passes instead, underground shows are on like Donkey Kong.
Take these facts for what they’re worth, which is nothing when it comes to the machinations of the Albany clusterfuck machine. Last year we were on track and it seemed like nothing was going to stop it, and then an unforeseen Senate coup screwed us. Literally anything can, and will, happen.