Thoughts on New York’s legalization of Mixed Martial Arts

Brooklyn Bridge - New York

The following comment is heresy for someone with my New England roots. I love New York City. Its aura, sights, sounds, and culture are infectious and my wife and I visit as often as we can. Now, we have a new reason to go to the Big Apple. 

On Tuesday, the near decade long fight to legalize mixed martial arts in New York culminated as the State Assembly passed a bill by a vote of 113-25 to lift the ban, which has been in place since 1997. Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated that he will sign the bill when it comes across his desk.

There was way more money spent on lobbying against for MMA as opposed to supporting it, and while it’s human nature to justify spinning tall tales of yonder to fight for something you believe in, one particular statement really bugged me.

Hon. Charles Barron of Manhattan compared MMA to slavery when he discussed the bill.

“Firstly, as an African-American, we’ve been in cages on the plantation and other places and people let us bite off each other’s ears and other things until they regulated that and made it something different.”

Fighting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this particular plea was not only absurd, but showed his complete lack of education on the subject. I thought politicians were more informed than this? One of the other representatives who opposed the bill compared MMA to gay porn while another ill-informed party stated that “this kickboxing thing” takes its cues from the fake nature of pro wrestling.

Speaking of wrestling, it was revealed that the state’s excise tax for wrestling and boxing is 3% while MMA will pay 8.5%. Is MMA’s percentage greater because it’s easier to tax a new piece of legislation at a higher rate? Also, will this lead to the aforementioned genres receiving a tax increase in the future?

It will be interesting to see what kind of event the UFC will hold for their debut in the Empire State. All roads lead to an inevitable mega show at Madison Square Garden. New York natives such as Chris Weidman and Jon Jones can finally apply their combative craft in their home town as a storm of MMA explosion is about to infiltrate the media capital of the world.

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