Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MMA [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
UFC cashes out in New York

By Jake Rossen

Andrew CuomoAP Photo/David DupreyGovernor's candidate Andrew Cuomo might be the key to unlocking MMA in the state of New York.

According to Monday's edition of the New York Post -- picked up by FightOpinion's Zach Arnold -- the UFC's parent company, Zuffa, has dumped nearly $75,000 into the campaign of governor's office candidate Andrew Cuomo. You do not need a flow chart to understand that Zuffa would like Cuomo to be its muscle in the state when legislation for legalizing MMA comes up again. (It was shot down earlier this year by the state assembly; New York remains one of only two states with specific laws prohibiting MMA.)

Cuomo, the state's current attorney general, is the Democratic nominee. His rival, Republican Carl Paladino, has been under media scrutiny for making unfounded accusations about Cuomo's fidelity during a prior marriage. As usual, politics make MMA seem tame by comparison.

Is this the final furlong in what's amounted to a 13-year struggle to get the sport recognized in one of the most economically viable states in the nation? Cuomo hasn't issued a statement revealing his views on the subject one way or the other, and Paladino is said to have "reservations" about MMA. Funding politicians is no guarantee they'll be sympathetic to your cause. Polls show Cuomo might have as much as a double-digit lead over Paladino.

Either man would have to navigate around the efforts of Bob Reilly, a state assemblyman who holds some influence over the assembly and who has a draconian view of combat sports fed by a child's understanding of the activity. Reilly's "Chicken Little" act eventually will be tossed, although the state's MMA fans might have to wait until he retires or moves to a new career. Someone has to keep that Elvis off TV.