Mixed martial arts (MMA) may be popular, but it’s too violent for one Queens lawmaker.
The Assembly voted last week to legalize MMA in New York State, but Assemblywoman Margaret Markey does not want to see the likes of Ronda Rousey or Conor MacGregor coming to the “Big Apple” to fight.
New York is presently the last state in the Union to prohibit MMA bouts. Though she voted against legislation approving MMA on the Assembly floor in the bipartisan 113-25 vote, Assemblywoman Markey had cleared its way for a vote as chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development.
“I was disappointed in the outcome of the Assembly vote on legalizing mixed martial arts in New York State,” Markey said. “While some of us who opposed this legalization were successful in making amendments that guarantee health insurance and other benefits for participants who are injured or disabled, I still voted ‘no’ on the legislation our house passed [last] week.”
For seven years, the State Senate passed bills in favor of legalizing MMA, but were blocked from going to the Assembly floor for a vote. Markey and other opponents of the bill were able to attach to it an amendment raising the insurance requirement for fighters who are injured.
“I have had a long-standing view that professional MMA is a barbaric activity that glorifies violence and has no place in New York State, Markey said. “Also, at a time when major professional contact sports are waking up to the long-term health consequences for participants, particularly brain damage, we should not be moving forward here without fully examining the issue for these even more vulnerable MMA players. The legislation approved by the Assembly [last] week authorizes the State Athletic Commission to develop protocols to address these concerns and I will continue to monitor their work to insure that these concerns are fully addressed.”
The legislation now moves to Governor Andrew Cuomo to make a decision. From there, the New York State Athletic Commission has 120 days to adopt guidelines.