It is a battle of metaphors between two local assemblymen with opposing views on legislation that would legalize mixed martial arts competition in New York state.
Having passed the state Senate by a comfortable margin two weeks ago, the proposal is now inching its way through the Assembly, as the June 20 end of the Legislature’s session rapidly approaches.
In response to the bill’s progression from the Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committee to the Codes Committee on Monday, Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Clifton Park, released a statement promising its ultimate defeat.
“Assemblyman Reilly urges colleagues to deliver knockout punch to MMA bill,” was the headline for his news release Tuesday, which predicts his chamber would never approve of the sport.
“We’ve come too far to turn our state into a veritable coliseum,” Reilly said in the release. “The New York State Assembly will continue its efforts to eradicate all types of violence in our State and will not implicitly condone violence.”
That view is seen as misguided by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, who said the sport could help alleviate the burden on state taxpayers. “We need to take the sleeper hold off New York’s bad economy,” he said. “We shouldn’t leave this revenue on the mat.”
Tedisco said the sport is no more violent than some others, noting that any given MMA hold is already legal in another sport. He added that there are more injuries in boxing and cheerleading than in MMA.
The bill is not expected to pass this year, just as last year the Senate passed it and it died in the Assembly.