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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Sheldon Silver: MMA in NY is inevitable

By Greg Newman

Looks like MMA and the UFC is one step closer to the Big Apple.

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has blocked MMA legalization in New York for years, admitted to reporters in Albany on Wednesday, “I think at some point there will probably be an approval in this state.”

Silver said that he is still personally opposed to MMA but sees how the sport could be used to increase the state’s revenue.

Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters, "I think it's making progress and it's something we're looking at as a possible source of revenue, and we are all about looking for revenue in this state.

"So if we can bring economic activity in -- shows, etc. -- that's something we're very interested in and we're reviewing the current proposals."

"The legalization enjoys widespread, bipartisan support from upstate and downstate members in both houses," State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo said.

"Legalizing MMA in New York will mean jobs and increased revenue. It will mean UFC, as well as other MMA promoters, will hold matches here. It means New York fans will no longer have to travel to New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and other states, but will be able to see live professional MMA in their local arenas," Griffo added.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle is sponsoring S2755-2013, which passed the state's Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation by a 11-3 vote.

"It’s long past time that we officially sanction this sport in the state," Griffo said in a press release. "For five years, I’ve been making the case that the numbers don’t lie; bringing MMA events to New York State will have a tremendously positive impact through the jobs that can be created and the spending that will stimulate the economy."

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and UFC middleweight contender (and New York native) Chris Weidman were among UFC fighters who went to Albany Wednesday to help with the PR push.