Assembly Democrats knocked out plans to legalize mixed-martial arts in New York, saying there was insufficient support to bring the issue to a vote.
“The conference has asked not to put it on the agenda,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, after Democrats met behind closed doors tonight.
New York is the only state in the nation to bar mixed-martial-arts competitions. The measure has passed four years in a row in the Republican-led Senate, but it has failed to garner enough support in the Democratic-led Assembly, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t pushed for its approval.
Some Democrats have raised concerns about the violence associated with the sport. They have also questioned how women are treated at the events — a sensitive issue after Silver last month was criticized for not doing more to stop the sexual harassment of female aides to disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn.
Lorenzo Fertitta, the chairman of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, said the company would continue to push for passage in New York in future years. The legislative session is set to end this week.
Ferttta rejected the claims that the contests are anti-women, saying that Democrats are using that as an excuse to ban it because of his Las Vegas casinos are not union shops.
“This year’s new, absurd, offensive, and completely erroneous charge used to justify the defeat of MMA legislation was that MMA is anti-woman and leads to domestic violence,” he said in a statement. “This is a deception fabricated by a Las Vegas union that is recklessly and callously trying to use an important societal issue to try and punish the UFC. It isn’t honest and doesn’t work.”