Friday, January 16, 2015

Assemblyman Asks New York Governor to Legalize MMA Through the Backdoor


Assemblyman Dean Murray has long been a friend to the MMA movement here in New York, and yesterday, that friendship manifested itself in the form of an open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo requesting that he include the legalization of the sport in his 2015 Executive Budget Proposal.

What's an "Executive Budget Proposal"? Pretty much what it sounds like - it's the annual suggested budget for the state, and within it are variety of ideas for revenue generation that could conceivably be laws that circumvent the legislative process. It is, generally, a viable means for certain things to skip over the whole Senate/Assembly rigmarole.

Unfortunately, we know from experience that the Execute Budget isn't the way the MMA ban is going to get lifted. The issue is too contentious and too worthy of debate for the legislature to sign off on it, there's no indication Governor Cuomo is even inclined to include it in his proposal, and when Governor David Patterson put an MMA provision in his Executive Budget Proposal a few years back, it went nowhere fast.

Still, Assemblyman Murray's gesture is a nice one. Here's the text of the letter:

Dear Governor Cuomo:
Boosting New York's economic potential is my top priority. That is why I'm writing to request that you include the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in your Executive Budget presentation on Wednesday. This incredibly popular sport is supported by majorities in both houses of the legislature and would be of great benefit to our economy.
In the wake of the decision to ban hydrofracking, we should take advantage of alternative means to increase revenue and spur economic growth. Legalizing MMA does just that and doesn't come with any environmental or collateral cost to our communities. With the potential to raise between $23 million to $40 million in economic impact in the first year alone, legalizing the sport is a can't-miss opportunity.
When considering that two successful titleholders in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world's premiere MMA company, were born and raised right here in our state, the drawing potential for this sport could be even higher. That means more visitors to our great cities and more tourism money for our world-class hotel and restaurant industries.
Moreover, keeping live MMA events out of New York simply keeps New Yorkers from reaping the economic benefits of this professional sport. MMA can be seen on TV on FOX, Spike TV and pay-per-view, yet seeing a safe, legally sanctioned live event in New York State is illegal.
In these times, the positive fiscal impact to legalizing MMA can no longer be ignored. I respectfully request that you include this initiative in your presentation next week. 

Dean MurrayMember of AssemblyThird District

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