Last Monday the Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee of the New York State Assembly voted in favor of the bill (A04146) to decriminalize and sanction mixed martial arts (MMA) by an overwhelming vote of 16-3. But, as if the fourteen year fight for legal MMA has not been long enough, on the eve of possible regulation in New York, debate continues full steam creating a virtual race for the finish line. The finish line is June 20th, the end of the 2011 legislative calendar.
For legislation to become law in New York it must pass successfully through both the State Assembly and the Senate, at which point Governor Andrew Cuomo must sign the bill into law. Cuomo, who has long been silent on the issue of MMA, has now stated that when the bill reaches his desk, he will sign it.
Like the Senate before it, which passed companion legislation in support of MMA last May by a staggering 42-18 vote (as compared to the 32-26 vote in 2010), the Assembly Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee has created a clear mandate for its fellow Assemblypersons: New Yorkers want MMA and they want it now!