MMA in New York this year? Don't count on it

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A two-week deadlock in the New York senate has put MMA on the ropes.

The last day of the legislative body's 2009 session ended Monday, stranding several bills under consideration including one to legalize MMA in the Empire State.

Governor David Patterson on Sunday called a special session for the Senate to break a stalemate brought by a shift in party lines. Democrats have refused to participate in session since two members of its party sided with Republicans in a leadership vote, giving the GOP control of the Senate. Last week, one Democrat returned to the fold, leaving the chamber in a tie.

Lawmakers are due to vote on a budget for New York City, same-sex marriage, and a sales tax hike, among others.

Senate bill S2165A, proposed as a law to amend the state's current regulation of boxing, sparring, and wrestling, remains in the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation committee where it was first referred in April. The bill was scheduled for a vote the day after the legislative turmoil broke out on June 8.

Sarah Crean, a staffer with Cultural Affairs chair Sen. Jose M. Serrano, said the current legislative environment made the prospect of the MMA bill's passage grim.

"Given what's going on, probably all they're going to be looking at is financing and very urgent bills," said Crean. "What looks like is going to happen (to the MMA bill) is it's going to have to go through the process again in our committee next year when session starts again."

The next legislative session begins in January 2010.

Even if the bill passes the Cultural committee during the emergency session, it will then have to go to the Ways and Means and Rules committees before receiving a vote on the Senate floor.

UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner declined comment until he received more information from Global Strategy Group, the lobbying firm that represents the promotion's interests in New York. Senator Joe Griffo, the bill's sponsor, was unavailable for comment.