While the most vocal opponent of mixed martial arts in New York state has been Assemblyman Bob Reilly, the reason it has not passed has been Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Three years in a row the NY Senate had passed a bill regulating MMA, and each year in a fundamentally undemocratic move, the Assembly has not allowed it to come to the floor for a vote.
Last year Sheldon called for an informal vote, with 25 raising their hands against. According to a NY Daily News source, the “ayes” seemingly had more than 60, but Sheldon magically determined that the votes were not there.
It has been a year, and now Sheldon may have, finally, determined that 60 > 25.
Silver on Wednesday said he believes New York will someday lift its ban on professional mixed martial arts but did not say whether he believes it will come this year.
Speaking to reporters following a news conference, Silver said he believes mixed martial arts’ approval may be a question of when, not if.
“I think at some point there will probably be an approval in this state,” Silver said. “I can’t tell you when.”
Silver’s comments echo past remarks from Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, the chamber’s second-ranking lawmaker. Morelle has said he will introduce a bill to overturn the ban.
Silver said Assembly Democrats, who hold a 2-to-1 majority in the chamber, will consider it in the same manner the conference has in previous years.
“We will take it up in conference, and we will do what we think our conference thinks is acceptable,” the speaker said.
Silver again outlined his personal position on mixed martial arts: He does not like it, but there is no keeping it off television. He also pointed to the potential of added revenue for New York.
“On the one hand, I think it’s something that I personally do not approve of,” Silver said. “On the other hand, you can turn on the television at any time and it’s there and available for my children and grandchildren to watch. We can’t wall off our children from seeing this, because it’s readily available to them.”
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