MMA legislation in New York hits a speed bump

Could this man kill MMA in New York?

There is trouble in New York. For fans of the greatest sport in the world, mixed martial arts, each year seems to be getting better. New states open the flood gates to allow sanctioned MMA fights and young people everywhere have a new sport they can participate in and make a career out of if they choose.

Just when MMA appears poised to take over the world, a speed bump in New York could slow down the progress. The New York State Assembly’s Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee held session on Tuesday and among several pieces of legislature up for vote is Bill 1-11458-A, designed to regulate the sport of MMA in New York state.

The bill was not on the committee’s agenda this week but could be voted on as early as next week. Assemblyman Bob Reilly, a Democratic member of the committee who represents the 109th district of New York, opposes the legislation and his sentiments seem to be gaining some traction.

Reilly, a Roman Catholic who is said to donate his entire Assembly salary to charity appears to feel some sort of moral obligation to save New York from what he considers the brutality and barbarism that is MMA. Reilly recently spoke to about his feelings on MMA and why he is against bringing it into New York.

Bob Reilly says, “…my feeling about mixed martial arts is that there are many problems with it. It really is a glorification of brutality and violence…violence itself as I think happens in mixed martial arts, in fact, makes people immune to violence and in fact promotes violence.”

“I think that this basically is a glorification of violence, but it certainly promotes violence. In itself, I think it’s a very brutal sport that creates, obviously, physical harm to the participants, and I don’t think there’s any other sport who’s purpose is to harm your opponent. But we know that in mixed martial arts, that, in fact, is one of the purposes.”

According to Reilly, he is receiving a lot of support on the issue. “The vast majority of my constituents are opposed to it, because they think it’s brutal. I find it very offensive, and even more with women than men – if that’s sexist, so be it.” 

One of the “incidents” that has become somewhat infamous among Reilly and his naysayers is James Thompson’s puss-filled ear spewing all over national TV a la Kimbo Slice. Thanks Elite XC. 

In addition to the “violence,” Reilly says that MMA would not benefit the state economically either. He states that if people pay two-hundred dollars for a ticket, that is money that could have been spent in the state and not given to a company based out of Las Vegas, meaning Zuffa. If that is your attitude Mr. Reilly then why support your state’s football or baseball teams, since at every game there will be one team participating not from the state.

Does he realize that when the UFC goes into a city, they almost always use local talent on the card? Does he realize how many young people just one UFC event attended live can inspire to begin training in MMA, that will sign up at local gyms for instruction? Does he not realize that all these people going to a UFC event pay five dollars for a coke and six dollars for a hot-dog to the arena vendors? Does he not realize half of the people attending a UFC event need somewhere to sleep for the night and will use local hotels and motels? Does he not realize how many local MMA promotions will pop up in a state that legalizes MMA? His whole argument that legalizing MMA does nothing for the local economy is absolutely erroneous.

We have located New York Assemblyman Bob Reilly’s website here, so if you are an MMA fan especially in the counties of Albany and Saratoga, New York, you may want to let this dude know he does not speak for you. Check out MMA Weekly’s whole interview here. There is a lot more to it but one warning, it may make your blood boil.

By:  Jack Bratcher