Siena Poll: Support grows for legalizing mixed martial arts

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Support for lifting New York’s ban on mixed-martial arts has grown over the past 11 months, according to a new poll.

A total of 43 percent of registered voters now want the state to rescind its ban on professional bouts, Siena College found. That’s up from 32 percent in May of last year.

But opposition has also grown. Thirty-three percent said they oppose the legalization of mixed martial arts, up seven percentage points from May.

The poll comes as part of Siena’s look at sports fandom in New York, released today by the university’s research institute. (The Yankees are the state’s favorite sports team, if you were wondering.)

A bill to allow and regulate professional mixed martial arts in New York was passed by the Senate again this year, and was introduced in the Assembly last week.

It’s sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, but Speaker Sheldon Silver has not committed to bringing it to the floor for a vote. Labor, faith and anti-violence groups have opposed the bill, citing the violent nature of the sport.

Ultimate Fighting Championship officials, who have lobbied Albany lawmakers for years to lift the MMA ban, touted the poll’s results.

“While not all New Yorkers are fans of MMA — just as not allNew Yorkers are fans of football, baseball, hockey, NASCAR, boxing, or anyother sport — millions of New Yorkers are fans,” Marc Ratner, UFC’s VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs, said in a statement. “They are watching MMA and UFC on broadcast, cable and pay-per-viewtelevision. In fact, more UFC PPV eventsare purchased in New Yorkers than in any other state. And New Yorkers are traveling to Toronto, Boston, Newark and other cities to see UFC and MMA events.”

UFC’s Albany-based spokesman, Steve Greenberg, is also Siena’s political and governmental pollster; He was not the pollster for the survey released today. (Those honors went to Don Levy, the director of the Siena Research Institute.)

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press)

Here’s the crosstabs:

Sport0413 Crosstabs

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  1. I’m sure a lot of New Yorkers would love the ban of mixed martial arts to be lifted. They’re huge sports fans there!