On Monday, a bill to regulate mixed martial arts in the state of New York passed through the Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development Committee by a lopsided 17-3 vote. While the news was noteworthy given MMA stonewall Bob Reilly's seat on that committee, it came with the caveat that similar bills in years past had moved through the same committee only to meet death shortly thereafter.
It looks as if our death pronouncement came early this year. From Justin Klein of the Fight Lawyer blog:
If you follow this blog you know by now that Sheldon Silver can make or break legislation in New York. That is why it is so troubling to hear this quote (at the link above):
"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.
This language essentially tracks words used by Assemblyman Englebright -- the MMA bill's sponsor in the Assembly -- for the past two-years.
This does not bode will for the bill this year as it would seem to corroborate my belief that the bill would stall out in committee again this year.
Sheldon Silver is the Speaker of the New York State Assembly -- the highest office in that legislature, and his few words influence the state of MMA in New York much more than the grandstanding and handwringing of Bob Reilly.
Klein pointed to this New York Magazine piece detailing Silver's power and influence in state politics.
He also noted that "approximately 60 assembly members" had signed a letter voicing their support for the bill and calling for a full floor vote before the end of the legislative session. It appears that document will fall on deaf ears.