George Sotiropoulos of Australia punches Dennis Siver during their lightweight...

George Sotiropoulos of Australia punches Dennis Siver during their lightweight bout at UFC 127 at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Feb. 27, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Less than half the people surveyed in the New York Sports Poll think mixed martial arts should be legalized in New York State, a survey released Tuesday by the Siena Research Institute indicated.

Only 39 percent of the 801 adults surveyed at random via telephone between Feb.22-March 1, 2011, are in favor of legalizing it, while 41 percent think it should remain banned.

“Majorities of men, those age 18 to 34 and avid sports fans support MMA, while older New Yorkers and  women are most opposed to the sport that supporters insist would generate fan interest, and be an engine of economic development,” Dr. Don Levy wrote.

Cheer up, MMA fans. While that 39 percent may seem small, the gap between those in favor and not in favor is minuscule. Mix in the 3.5 percent margin of error and, voila, you're ahead in the polls.

Also, digest these surveys like a glass of water. In the same survey, Derek Jeter was voted the greatest New York athlete ever. Somewhere, Babe Ruth is doing a double-take. And Carmelo Anthony was seventh on the list. Seriously. Seventh. After 11 games. He was one spot ahead of Lou Gehrig and two ahead of Jackie Robinson.

We're just guessing here, but with UFC president Dana White, chief executive Lorenzo Fertitta and fighters Frankie Edgar, Matt Hamill and Renzo Gracie in Albany on Tuesday to meet with legislators, this survey won't go too far in swaying legislative minds one way or the other.

Below is the exact wording of the question used in the survey and the breakdown of responses, as provided by the Siena Research Institute. Each demographic is broken out into its chart.


Mixed martial arts, known by some as cage fighting or ultimate fighting. Supporters say it should be legal in the state of New York. Mixed martial arts or MMA is already legal in many states and if legal here in New York would generate fan interest, direct revenues and would be an engine of economic development.  Opponents say MMA is dangerous, even barbaric and we should not allow such a violent sport to be practiced here in New York.  Do you side with the supporters of MMA or with the opponents?

Side with supporters395326
Side with opponents413447
Don't have enough information192325


Side with supporters41526
Side with opponents403447
Don't have enough information182325


Side with supporters64423014
Side with opponents20424860
Don't have enough information16152026


Side with supporters38425925
Side with opponents42362754
Don't have enough information20191315


Side with supporters415326
Side with opponents363447
Don't have enough information212315


Side with supporters59433029
Side with opponents31404543
Don't have enough information10162323


See the entire New York Sports Poll report here.


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