Stop fighting against MMA

The state Senate recently passed a bill by a vote of 44-16 to make New York state the final state to permit mixed martial arts bouts. So far, the measure has stalled in the state Assembly, despite a reported 60 Assembly co-sponsors.

Mixed martial arts is a popular combat sport that includes elements of kickboxing, boxing, wrestling and karate. MMA matches have long been available to New York state audiences on television, but New York has never enjoyed the economic benefit of these events because it’s illegal to hold professional bouts here. The sport is dangerous, with a risk of concussions for the participants, but that’s also true of professional boxing and professional football, two sports with long and storied histories in New York state. It’s foolish for New York to continue to be the odd man out in allowing legal MMA matches. MMA promoters have said they would like to have events in upstate New York, as well as the lucrative New York City market, and both would be of benefit to the state’s economy. We urge Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, to allow a vote on legalizing MMA matches, and we urge Assembly members to approve the legislation.