Lawmakers, clergy oppose mixed martial arts on moral grounds

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Clergy, faith leaders and state Assembly members gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday calling on lawmakers to uphold the state ban against mixed martial arts, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.

photo-8Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, D-Queens, said she opposes mixed martial arts and believes individuals’ health should be considered over the money the sport would generate in the state.

“I think the injuries are horrific. I think it looks like a cartoon on TV,” Nolan said. “This is not a cartoon; it is not a moment of glory. It is the destruction of another human being’s dignity.”

Nolan said mixed martial arts would provide money to the state’s struggling economy but stressed that the funds would not go toward the fighters participating in the sport. She said if the bill comes to the floor, she would be a no-vote.

Individuals against mixed martial arts delivered a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and other Assembly members on Tuesday calling for them to reject the proposal of holding the events in the state.

“Mixed martial arts is a great marketing tool, but it is actually called ultimate fighting,” Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, said. “The pitch is, ‘Well this is happening everywhere else so we should cash in on it.’ I reject that notion.”

Clergy and faith leaders said mixed martial arts is a violent sport that is intended to inflict harm on other individuals. Glick said a sport with the sole purpose of fighting should not be called economic development.

The proposed bill that would lift the ban on mixed martial arts is sponsored by 64 Assembly members, including Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County.

Last week on an Albany public radio show, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he believes mixed martial arts could have a potential economic benefit for the state. New York banned the sport in 1997.

“I think we need jobs. I think we need jobs,” Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom. “I think we need economic activity, especially in upstate New York.”

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