MMA a no-go in New York

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The New York State Assembly's 2009 session expired Tuesday at 2 a.m., stranding bill 2009-B, the House version of MMA legislation, in the Ways and Means Committee. It will not be seen by the Governor David Patterson in 2009, dashing any hopes of its passage this year.

The Senate goes into an emergency session on Tuesday by order of Patterson, but it is highly unlikely that the bill for MMA would come up for a vote, as they are dealing with more pressing matters, such as budget issues. Even if the MMA bill did come up for a vote in the Senate, without passage of the House version, MMA legislation would still be dead in the water for passage in 2009.

The news is a blow to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The promotion had put much effort into getting MMA legislation passed in New York this year with hopes of running an event there in early 2010.

The bill will now have to go back through the process in 2010, and even if it does pass next year, the soonest the UFC, or any other promotion, would be able to hold an event in New York would be late in the year or early 2011.

"Essentially, we just ran out of time," said a representative from the office of Assemblyman Steve Englebright, who sponsored the bill in the House.

The bill will now go back to the Tourism, Arts, and Sports Committee in January 2010.

"If a bill passes on the floor, it would just go back onto the floor calendar next year," continued the representative. "But since this bill didn't make it to the floor yet, it has to automatically go back to the committee of origin, which really kind of stinks."

Senator Joe Griffo, the Senate sponsor of MMA legislation, was unaware of the developments in the house, but said the current leadership dispute would place emphasis on bills that were expiring or had urgent fiscal implications.

"We want to be careful too, because we want to win support for the bill in order to make it successful," said Griffo. "But at this point in time, with all the other things taking place, there are members that may vote in the negative because they don't have enough information, and we don't want that to happen either.

"I feel very frustrated right now."