For the eighth straight year, a bill to legalize MMA in the state of New York was not brought to a vote in the New York State Assembly – despite the fact that the Senate passed the bill in a landslide.
“Today was a Goose-and-tonic day, I can tell you that,” UFC Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “It was extremely disappointing. Last week, I was very cautiously optimistic. It looked like everything was pointing (in the right direction), and I believe we had the votes. Every day we didn’t get a vote started to scare me. By yesterday – or Monday, I guess it would have been – I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to happen. Each day they kept on saying ‘Today’s the day,’ but I knew. So once again, it’s wait until next year. Very, very disappointing. This is the closest we ever got.”
The UFC had hoped to host an event at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 5, with New York native Chris Weidman likely defending his middleweight title against Luke Rockhold. That event will likely get moved to Toronto or Calgary, and it is unknown when Weidman and Rockhold will square off.
“We’ve never had a vote in the assembly,” Ratner said in disbelief. “That’s what’s really disgusting for me. I think that we would have probably 95 to 105 votes out of the 150, but we’ve never been able to get on the floor.”
State Senate Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said last week that he was “hopeful” a vote would occur. Unfortunately for UFC, it did not.
‘I think that he thought we had it,” Ratner said, “and the longer it went that they didn’t get a vote, the more people started leaving town. All of a sudden, we didn’t have, according to what we’re hearing, (the necessary votes). It’s convoluted. It’s like playing baseball and never getting an at-bat. It’s disgusting, but it’s still not a question of if; it’s a question of when. We will get it. It’s unfair, but it is what it is.”
Scott Ferrall feels it’s ridiculous that the UFC can’t get a vote in the assembly. If it didn’t pass, that’s one thing; but to not even get a vote? It makes no sense.
“I certainly agree,” Ratner said. “And the most egregious part of all this . . . is every weekend they have amateur MMA with no athletic commission oversight, no ambulances. I don’t even want to know what kind of rules (they enforce). Not real good officials, no insurance – and they talk about health and safety. Well, that’s certainly not health and safety.
“Whenever I go up to the assembly,” Ratner continued, “one of the big things they say is, ‘New York’s open for business.’ I guess it is except for us. I just don’t understand. They’re telling people to go over to Newark, go to Boston, go to Philly – it’s just nonsensical. It’s impossible to explain, so I don’t. I just got to go forward, and we will. We’re a fighting organization, and we’ll just fight them. We’ll beat them, but it’s exasperating.”