Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday that he has no personal objection to the sport of mixed martial arts and that he wants to see exactly how much of an economic impact it could have if the ban were lifted.
"I don't have a feeling toward the sport that would say that sport should not happen in this state," Gov. Cuomo said Tuesday.
That's not exactly an endorsement of the sport, but it does represent Cuomo's second round of comments to the media about MMA, something he hadn't done in his first two years in office.
It doesn't exactly open the door for the legalization of MMA in New York -- which was outlawed in 1997 -- but it does give promoters such as UFC another reason to be positive after six years of lobbying.
"I think it's something that should be pursued," Gov. Cuomo said in regards to studying the true economic impact.
The bill to legalize MMA could be included in the state budget proposals and get passed that way. In simple terms, if an approved budget includes revenues accounted for from MMA events, it becomes legal.
Gov. Cuomo said the issue doesn't necessarily need to be settled via the budget process, which is supposed to conclude April 1 (but often is extended). In that case, the bill would need to pass through the state Assembly. It passed through the state Senate last year by a vote of 47-14, the widest margin in its four years of passing the Senate. A vote on the floor of the Assembly would require 76 votes to pass.