New York MMA Bill Shelved for Review

By Loretta Hunt Jun 18, 2008
The New York State Assembly's Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee shelved a bill Wednesday that would have signaled the first step on a long road to regulating mixed martial arts in the Empire State.

Bill A11458 proposed to amend chapter 912 of the laws of 1920 to add "professional combative sports participants" to its verbiage, allowing the New York State Athletic Commission to promulgate rules and regulations for MMA and other combat sports outside of boxing. The act would also allow the NYSAC to review existing or future sanctioning organizations for state approval.

A public forum will be scheduled to review the bill sometime between now and January 2009, when the next fiscal session begins.

"This would give the opportunity to have a round table or a public hearing, an opportunity for all sides to weigh in and take a hard look at the issue," said Elizabeth Nostrand, legislative and policy director for Assemblyman Steven Englebright, who authored the bill and chairs the Tourism committee. "Of course, there's a lot of interest in the bill, but there's a lot of confusion too as demonstrated by last week's vote."

The bill was voted down June 9 and then called back for a re-vote after some assembly members voiced confusion and requested to change their votes.

If the bill had passed through Wednesday's vote, a lengthy process remained before MMA could pitch its cage or ring in the lucrative state.

The bill would have been presented next to the Assembly as a whole for a vote, while companion bill, S2858-A, would have to begin a similar two-vote process through the Senate.

If both bills were to pass, the amendment bill would be presented to the governor for passage and signing. The NYSAC would then require a review period to organize staff and other considerations to oversee the sport.
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