Sunday, March 29, 2015

How to Fix a Bill, New York MMA Edition


Yesterday I wrote about how the pending Assembly bill to lift the ban on pro MMA would effectively kill amateur MMA in New York. What I neglected to point out is how this bill can be fixed.

My bad, people. My bad.

When a bill is wending its way though the legislature, it's a malleable thing, and subject to a multitude of changes that can come at any time in the process. And though the Senate-approved bill - S02159 - is a done deal, the Assembly version, A02604, is still a work in progress, and changes to A02604 would mean changes to S02159 (remember: bills are linked, and melded into one when they're presented to the governor to sign).

So, how could the Assembly's MMA bill be fixed so as to keep at least some form of amateur MMA in New York? All it would take is to remove the phrase "of a single discipline". Removing that would mean that organizations like the World Kickboxing Association could still sanction shows, and it would mean that the athletic commission would be empowered to add other organizations (like the United States Muay Thai Association, the International Sport Karate Association, or anyone else deemed worthy) to the list of approved third-party organizations).

(In addition, adding other organizations to the approved list would mean those organizations would be allowed to sanction MMA events where alcohol is served - provided current State Liquor Authority statutes don't change.)

Perhaps the best way to initiate this fix of the MMA bill would be to contact any of the legislation's sponsors, with the bill's main sponsor - Majority Leader Joseph Morelle - being at the top of the list.

You can email Assembly Majority Leader Morelle at or call his Albany office at 518-455-5647. Be respectful, but be clear: You support MMA in New York, and want the phrase "of a single discipline" removed from the MMA bill.

We're at a crucial juncture in the legislative battle to get sanctioned MMA in New York, so voicing your support of the bill even while simultaneously suggesting a change to the wording of it sends the message that this is an important issue that New Yorkers care about.

And we certainly all care about it.

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