Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breaking Down the New York State Senate's MMA Bill, 2011 Edition

At this point in the year, Battered Wife Syndrome kicks in and MMA Journalist finds itself gazing longingly at the legislative calendar, hoping beyond hope that this is the year New York finally repeals its ban on professional MMA and embraces the future.  And a quick peruse of the docket tells us that the State Senate has one such bill swirling around in the stew that is theoretically what they’ll be dining on in 2011.  Now, past experience tells us that the Senate could very well agree on sanctioning the sport (like they did last year) and then everything goes to hell with the Assembly, or the Assembly could give it the thumbs up (like they did two years ago) and then everything goes to hell with the Senate, so it doesn’t pay to get your hopes up.  But Dana White and company seemed awfully optimistic at that MSG presser a couple weeks ago – especially at the prospect that the governor would sneak it through the process as an attachment to his budget (which almost worked last year, but that was a different governor).  Really, who the heck knows.  I don’t.  I do know, however, how to read a bill, so here are some tidbits from what the State Senate is chewing on:

  • “’Professional combative sports match or exhibition’ shall mean any match or exhibition that must be approved by the Commission where the professional combative sports participants receive consideration of any value or admission is charged.” – Crap, someone told them about the “amateur” loophole.
  • “The Commission shall direct a representative to be present at each place where combative sports are to be held pursuant to the provisions of this section.” – Get your resumes ready, folks, ‘cause this is going to require a lot of NYSAC employees!
  • “Nothing in this subdivision shall authorize the Commission to intervene or prohibit a professional combative sports match or exhibition solely on the basis of the difference between the respective participants’ martial arts disciplines.” – Tai Chi vs. Muay Thai?  Oh baby, it’s on.
  • “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.” – One night, eight-man tournament?  Bring it, homeboy.
  • “The Commission is authorized and directed to require that all sites wherein professional combative sports are conducted shall comply with State and applicable local sanitary codes appropriate to school athletic facilities.” – So long, stanky gyms.
  • “A tax is hereby imposed and shall be paid upon the gross receipts of every person holding any professional combative sports match or exhibition in this state.  Such tax shall be imposed on the gross receipts as follows: 8.5% of gross receipts from ticket sales, and 3% of gross receipts from broadcasting rights, except that in no event shall the tax imposed exceed $50,000 for any match or exhibition.” – And once again, the “little guy” promoter gets screwed.