Senate approves MMA legislation again
New York Senators approve legislation to legalize Mixed Martial Arts. It's something they've done in the past, but has never gotten through the Assembly. As our Iris St. Meran explains, the bill's sponsor is hopeful it will be approved this time around.
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STATEWIDE -- Mixed Martial Arts is not legal in New York, but the sport continues to grow in popularity in the state.
Pin 2 Win Incorporated Owner Gene Mills said,"There's a lot of guys that say to themselves that if it ever gets legalized they're going to do it. But we'll see when it gets passed."
Wednesday, legislation passed in the Senate by a margin of 47 to 14 to legalize and regulate competitions across New York. Senator Joe Griffo, who is the sponsor, has been here before, getting it passed in the Senate to only meet a roadblock in Assembly.
"There were a number of intangibles in the Assembly. There are some philosophic differences, but on the other hand there were also some intangibles, some union issues at one time. Some of that has dissipated. Not all of it," said Griffo.
He's feeling hopeful this go around because of support from the Majority Leader Joe Morelle. Griffo said the Majority Leader has taken an interest in it.
At Pin 2 Win in Clay, Gene Mills has a number of beginner’s classes from boxing to self-defense. But Mills is looking forward to the day he can add MMA to his repertoire. He, like Griffo, believes it will have a positive economic impact as well as ensure the safety of the sport, which he said is a common misconception.
"I think a lot of people think it's violent. You can get really, really hurt. But, I am also a certified MMA official and judge. And one of our biggest things is safety,” Mills added, “So, if we feel anybody is ever in jeopardy of getting injured, our job is to stop it. End of story."
He hopes the story of MMA doesn't end in the Senate and hopes it can finally move through the assembly so fans and competitors can participate legally.
Senator Griffo said there's no time line for when the Assembly will vote on this legislation. They have until June when the session ends.