2016-03-10 / Front Page

State near passing measure for mixed martial art bouts in New York

Saladino reports progress from Assembly floor

Christopher James (Chris) Weidman of Baldwin, a mixed martial arts professional.Christopher James (Chris) Weidman of Baldwin, a mixed martial arts professional.NYS Assemblyman Joe Saladino reports from the floor of the Assembly this afternoon that he expects passage of a bill that will bring professional mixed martial art bouts to New York. Until now, New York was the only state not to sanction and set standards for these bouts, which are popular throughout the country.

“I support this measure because these bouts are taking place anyway and it is time that we make them safe and bring them to New York,” said Saladino, as debate continued on the Assembly floor. “We will now have a state commission that will have oversight over these bouts and ensure that they are safe.”

Under the measure, the New York State Athletic Commission will have its role expanded to include oversight over professional mixed martial arts. The law will required establishing a weight class, limiting the number of rounds and their duration, establish professional conduct and behavior and require a medical presence on site. There are financial penalties for unsportsmanlike behavior or violations of the regulations.

Christopher James (Chris) Weidman of Baldwin in a professional mixed martial arts competitor. He is #11 in official UFC pound-for-pound rankings and ranked as the #2 middleweight and #10 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Up until now, however, he could not compete in New York, where mixed martial art bouts were prohibited.

The bill has consistently passed the Senate eight times in seven years, but has failed to garner enough support in the Assembly. Opponents have fought against the change for years, saying the sport is dangerous and promotes violence.

This year, however, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he supported the lifting of the ban on the sport, prompting more discussion in the Assembly and likelihood of passage.

In addition to the regulations the change would place fees on promoters and ticket sales and bring revenue into state coffers.

“Certainly the revenue is something to consider, but the object of this change is to ensure that New Yorkers have the same opportunity to see these bouts at home, while at the same time protecting the professional athletes,” said Saladino.




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