The Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development voted to approve the legislation on Tuesday, which now moves the the Codes Committee.
The bill would allow Ultimate Fighting Championship and other promoters to stage mixed martial arts events, with oversight handled by the state Athletic Commission. The state would place an 8.5 percent tax on box-office revenue.
It was passed by the Senate both this year and last, but has never been taken to the Assembly floor for a vote. UFC light heavyweight champ Jon “Bones” Jones, a Rochester native who grew up in Broome County and now lives in Ithaca, was at the Capitol in late May pushing for the bill’s passage.
The Assembly committee’s action drew the ire of one of mixed martial arts biggest critics: Assemblyman Robert Reilly, D-Colonie, Albany County. He released the following statement blasting the move:
“The Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development voted MMA legislation (A.4146) out of its committee today. I am deeply disappointed that this legislation was successful in committee, however, it this has not deterred my campaign to keep this dangerous sport out of New York State. The Tourism Committee also passed the bill last year but it was not passed by the full Assembly.
I believe my Assembly colleagues will continue to vote ‘NO’ to an excessively violent activity that has no place in civilized society. We’ve come too far to turn our state into a veritable coliseum. The New York State Assembly will continue its efforts to eradicate all types of violence in our State and will not implicitly condone violence by legalizing ultimate fighting.”
(AP Photo of Jones speaking to Sen. William Larkin)