clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NY politician arrested, biggest obstacle to UFC in state

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of MMA’s biggest political opponents in New York, was arrested and placed in federal custody on corruption charges.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The Daily News reported that longtime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, MMA's main opposing force in New York, has surrendered to federal authorities and has been placed under custody for corruption charges.

Silver, who has remained atop the Assembly for nearly two decades as one of the most powerful men in Albany, has been reportedly linked to "payments the powerful Manhattan Democrat received from New York City law firm Goldberg & Iryami that he did not disclose publicly, as required by law."

It is unclear what charges he will be facing but a copy of the criminal complaint filed against him has been released.

Silver's arrest comes one year before he officially became the longest-serving Assembly speaker in history. If charges are levied against him, it would certainly create a power struggle in the state, given the lack of an heir apparent.

While Silver is not obligated to give up his spot if arrested, he could be forced from that position.

"If he's arrested, you'll likely hear members calling for him to give up his speakership," an Assembly Democrat told The News.

The 70-year-old Silver is also the main obstacle for MMA's legalization in New York State. Every year, the UFC attempts to pass a bill to legalize mixed martial arts in New York, the bill has been kept off the Assembly floor by the Manhattan speaker.

With Silver's potential removal from office, the UFC will likely have the opportunity to overturn the 1997 state law that banned MMA in the state.

Here's Lorenzo Fertitta talking about the battle for MMA legalization back in 2013, before the investigation of Silver: