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MMA in New York hits roadblock in Sheldon Silver

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver speaks during New York

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver speaks during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's first State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. (Jan. 5, 2011) Credit: AP

Sheldon Silver has never made his opinion public on whether or not mixed martial arts should be legalized in New York.

But a quote from the State Assembly Speaker in Wednesday's Daily News is far from encouraging for fans of the sport. "There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation," Silver was quoted as saying.

That's not good if you're a supporter of MMA.

Whether that sentiment is true or not across the entire legislative body is largely irrelevant. Silver (D-Manhattan) is considered the most powerful member of the Assembly, and he can control which bills make it to Assembly floor for a vote and which make it to the cutting room floor.

The State Senate passed the bill last month by a vote of 42-18. The Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee passed it with a 16-3 vote this past Monday. The bill is now referred to the Codes committee, when chairman Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) said he believes it will pass easily. From there, it would head to Ways and Means, where it stalled last year.

Perhaps the bill will go no further once more this year, and we can just re-run all these stories next year with slightly different numbers. Or maybe this is just a strategic early move by Silver. Remember, folks, this is politics, the truest area of ultimate fighting.

UPDATE: Wait, there's hope for MMA fans.


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