Judge determines pro MMA legal in New York State, if sanctioned

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Managing editor at Rebellion Media and best-selling author Jim Genia is reporting that MMA in New York State may finally be happening.

Via Twitter.

jim genia ‏@jim_genia

Heading to the court to hear Zuffa vs. NYS oral arguments. Practicing my best Al Pacino “YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER!” chant.

BREAKING: In 2 weeks the UFC will likely be able to hold events in NY. Judge in Zuffa vs. NYS case pushing parties to settle.

Attorneys for Zuffa and State Att’y General office agree that loophole in law banning pro MMA in NY allows for 3rd-party sanctioning.

Spoke to UFC att’y Tim Bellamy. He said they’d rather wait for the law to be repealed, but if 3rd-party sanctioning is only option that’s ok

Props to @DarceSideRadio, who violated federal law and smuggled a voice recorder into the courtroom, and now has audio from today.

@arielhelwani Zuffa vs. NYS court proceedings today ended in a big win for the UFC. Now they can do their November show at MSG.

@arielhelwani The law banning the sport would still stand, so the NYSAC would still have no authority.

@arielhelwani As per Zuffa in-house counsel Tim Bellamy, they’d rather have ban repealed, but if this is all they’ve got, they’ll take it.

@arielhelwani Bellamy actually said they want to wait and see what happens with this legislative session first.

Some additional points: The only 3rd party sanctioning bodies that can do MMA in NY are the ones written into the 1997 law and of those only WKA has any kind of track record of sanctioning shows (kickboxing) in NYS. Would WKA want to sanction MMA here?

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Genia also wrote up the story for FightLine.com, excerpts of which appear below.

Zuffa scored a big win in their lawsuit against New York today, paving the way for the organization to legally hold a UFC event in the state almost immediately and regardless of whether or not the ban on professional mixed martial arts is lifted by the legislature.

In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General’s most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz – representing the Attorney General’s office – acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa’s interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there’d be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle.

The door is now open for Zuffa – or any other MMA promotion – to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute. Those sanctioning bodies include the World Karate Association (since renamed the World Kickboxing Association, a.k.a. the “WKA”), the Professional Karate Association and the U.S. Judo Association, among others.

In addition, as long as the law remains on the books, the New York State Athletic Commission has no regulatory authority over MMA and would therefore have no oversight over such events.

“We’ll take it,” said UFC in-house counsel Timothy Bellamy, who was present at today’s proceedings. “We’d rather have the state lift the ban and we go that route first, but we’ll know in the next two months if that’s going to happen.” If it doesn’t, said Bellamy, then the UFC would use the third-party-sanctioning option.

Read entire article…

The list of named sanctioning bodies is:

 U.S. Judo Association, U.S. Judo, Inc., U.S. Judo Federation, U.S. Tae Kwon Do Union, North American Sport Karate Association, U.S.A. Karate Foundation, U.S. Karate, Inc., World Karate Association, Professional Karate Association, Karate International, International Kenpo Association, or World Wide Kenpo Association.

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