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SportsMixed Martial Arts

64 sponsors on bill to legalize MMA in New York

Chris Weidman, left, punches Mark Munoz during the

Chris Weidman, left, punches Mark Munoz during the second round of their middleweight bout at UFC on Fuel 4 in San Jose, Calif., Weidman won by technical knockout in the second round. (July 11, 2012) Credit: AP

There are a total of 64 sponsors on the state Assembly's bill to legalize mixed martial arts in New York.

What does that mean for fans and fighters who have had to spend their money in other states to watch MMA competitions?

Well, on its face, it means there's a heck of a lot of support for the bill this year, thanks in large part to Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who introduced the bill in the state Assembly last Thursday.

(Its companion bill in the state Senate, which is essentially the same as Assembly Bill No. 6506, passed through the Senate in March by a 47-14 margin.)

But, the number of sponsors means as much mathematically as it does politically. A bill needs 76 votes to pass in the Assembly, meaning only 12 of the 74 non-sponsors would need to vote in the affirmative to legalize mixed martial arts in the state. (There are 150 state Assembly members and a simple majority is needed to pass a bill.)

Some stats on the sponsorship, which is up from 47 on the 2012 bill:

-- 49 Democrat sponsors (up from 27 in 2012)

-- 15 Republican sponsors (down from 20 in 2012)

-- 33 of the sponsors are from NYC (up from 17 in 2012)

-- 10 of the Long Island Assembly members are listed as sponsors (same as 2012): Steve Englebright, Brian Curran, Al Graf, Charles Lavine, David McDonough, Tom McKevitt, Edward Ra, Andrew Raia, Phil Ramos and Joseph Saladino.

The bill was referred to the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee where it begins the process for a fourth straight year. How far it gets through committees and whether or not it reaches the floor of the Assembly for a full vote remains to be seen.

“As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the UFC later this year, we know our New York fans would love to celebrate with us with the most exciting fight card in our history at Madison Square Garden this fall. Then we want to hit other venues across upstate," UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said in a statement. “All it will take to make New York the 49th state to legalize MMA is for the Speaker to allow the bill to come to the floor of the Assembly for a vote – we are very confident it will have far more than the 76 votes needed for passage – and for the Governor to sign it into law."

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