The state chapter of the National Organization for Women is out with a letter Wednesday criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for warming up to lifting a ban on professional mixed-martial arts, questioning how he could support such a “vicious and violent sport.”
Cuomo hasn’t given his outright support to a bill that would lift the ban and regulate the sport, but has suggested he would sign it if the Ultimate Fighting Championship proves it would be beneficial economically.
In her undated letter to Cuomo, NOW NYS President Zenaida Mendez questions whether the sport lines up with Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Agenda,” which includes proposals related to abortion, equal pay and gender discrimination.
“And we ask you once again, how can you espouse women’s equality and violence?” Mendez wrote. “We hope that you will reconsider your support for this legislation.(#A6506/S02755). Women and children of New York State are depending on you to do what is right andwhat keeps them safe.”
The UFC has committed to hosting at least 12 events in New York over three years if the ban is pulled.
For at least the third year in a row, the Senate has passed the bill to allow pro mixed martial arts bouts this year, but it’s currently tied up in the Assembly. The Daily News reported this week that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is feeling heat from women’s groups to block the legislation, in part because of criticism he’s received for his handling of sexual harassment allegations against now-former Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
Here’s the letter. (H/T to the Auburn Citizen’s Robert Harding for uploading it.)