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MMA Legislation Not Going To Happen in New York, Silver Says

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday appeared to KO the latest bid to legalize ultimate fighting in New York, despite its mounting momentum in the state Capitol. "There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation," Silver said when asked if the proposal would be approved before the June 20 end of the legislative session. The bill to legalize and regulate the popular but controversial sport overwhelmingly cleared the Assembly Tourism Committee this week. It already passed the Senate. It's expected to zip through the Assembly Codes Committee next week and appears to have growing support in the chamber. "Every other state seems to think this is a good idea," said Codes Committee Chairman Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn). New York is one of just three states out of the 48 with athletic commissions that does not sanction mixed martial arts. Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) called it "illogical and irrational" that the state would turn its back on the revenue the sport would generate during a fiscal crisis. Critics like Assemblyman Robert Reilly (D-Albany) call the sport barbaric. But others say it's dramatically changed from its no-holds barred days in the 1990s.

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