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Friday, February 04, 2011
The participants were:
2) Kevin Malloy: Assemblyman Murray's Chief of Staff.
3) Kevin Morello: Office of Senator Lee Zeldin (R, C, I - Long Island). Co sponsor of the Senate MMA bill.
4) Justin Klein: Member of the NY Bar Sports Law Committee and writer for MMA Payout.
5) Peter Lampasona: MMA journalist, US Combat Sport and host of Cage Radio.
6) Jim Genia: MMA journalist, Editor at Full Contact Fighter.
7) Eddie Goldman: MMA journalist, No Holds Barred.
8) Bruce Kivo: MMA journalist, MMA Confidential.
9) Steve Katz: Queens gym owner/amateur MMA promoter.
10) Steve Kardian: Westchester gym owner, security expert, and national media consultant.
11) Stephen Koepfer: Manhattan gym owner, President of the American Sambo Association.
12) Paula Romero: MMA insider.
13) Kahleem Poole: MMA documentarian.
This meeting revealed some very good news for mixed martial arts. Just days ago, there was what appeared to be disastrous news for the sport. Not only did the newly-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo not include re-legalizing MMA in his 2011-12 budget proposal, but he also called for eliminating the salary of the chair of the New York State Athletic Commission. That would effectively gut the ability of the commission to protect properly the health and safety of all combat sports athletes, and prevent it from having enough staff to regulate the rapidly-growing sport of MMA.
The good news came from Assemblyman Murray. In past years, re-legalizing MMA has been approved in the State Senate but not the Assembly. Now, as the ranking minority member of the New York State Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development, he is working with his Democratic colleague and committee chair, Steve Englebright, to mobilize bi-partisan support for passage of such pro-MMA legislation.
"I'm very confident," said Assemblyman Murray at the roundtable. "I'm more confident than I've been in years." Both Assemblymen Englebright and Murray believe that if the bill to re-legalize MMA were put to a vote in the Assembly, with support from many members of both political parties, it would achieve a majority and pass in the Assembly. Passage in the Senate and then signature by Governor Cuomo would also be required for the bill to become a law, but again, it has been in the Assembly where it has been held up in the past.
Still, grassroots action is needed to get MMA re-legalized in New York. That is why the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York will have a rally on Tuesday, February 8, at 250 Broadway in lower Manhattan, across the street from City Hall and outside the district office of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, beginning at 12 noon.
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