NEW ARTICLE: MMA in New York State
The above link is to a new article posted to the website (KevinMarshallOnline.com), which addresses the New York State Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development’s vote against bringing a measure to legalize MMA to the general Assembly.
What particularly caught my ire were comments made to the media by Committee member and State Assemblyman Bob Reilly (D-Colonie), much of which is the typical arguments you see from politicians and sports writers against MMA. That is to say, factually inaccurate information and ad-hominem statements with no basis in reality.
The article is my response to the vote and, in particular, Assemblyman Reilly’s statements and “concerns.”
It also addresses the larger concern of decisions made on larger matters pertaining to the State without so much as a cursory glance at the issues up for vote. As voters, we have an obligation to make sure that the men and women we elect to represent us are voting based on the facts and are at least having their staff do some semblance of research on issues, which if this is any indication simply isn’t happening on the State level.
Whether you’re for or against the legalization of MMA in New York State, I urge you to give the article a glance. The article also contains contact information for Assemblyman Reilly, as well as a link to information on how you can get in touch with other members of the Committee (including Committee Chairman Steve Englebright).
Under the cut to this particular entry, you’ll find a modified version of the article sent as an open letter to Assemblyman Bob Reilly (and CC’ed to the other members of the Committee).
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Re: State Committee on Tourism, Arts, & Sports Development’s Recent Vote on Mixed Martial Arts in New York State
I’m writing this in regards to recent comments you’ve made to the media concerning your vote as a member of the New York State Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development against the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts. Not only are you on the wrong side of this issue in terms of pure fact, you’re on the wrong side of this issue as it pertains to the voters.
If the sport of Mixed Martial Arts were so barbaric, New York State wouldn’t be in the minority in recognizing it as a valid sport and allowing its State Athletic Commission to provide oversight. You had previously stated that 20 states have a ban on Mixed Martial Arts, when in reality it’s only 10 (New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Indiana, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Wisconsin).
It’s also worth noting that MMA bears no resemblance to the product of the early 1990s that you’re probably thinking of, which was marketed as “No Holds Barred.” The premiere promotion in the United States, the UFC, isn’t even under the same ownership as it was in those days. If you were to even glance at footage of the UFC in 1993 as compared to now, the difference would be like night and day.
There were and are legitimate concerns when it comes to brutality and the safety of the participants, which is why the New Jersey State Athletic Commission set the guidelines in 1997 for what’s now known as the MMA Unified Rules of Conduct. These measures were enacted (effectively) to legitamize MMA as a sport and ensure the safety of its competitors. It’s a measure that’s been successful, since MMA has not only grown as an industry and become more legitimized in the eyes of mainstream America in the last ten years, but has also maintained a microscopic mortality rate: far less than that of boxing and the number one sport in America, football.
Speaking of which, out of curiosity, do you or your compatriots in the Assembly have any plans on making boxing illegal? Boxing, after all, is every bit as regulated as MMA but would still fall under the realm of “human cockfighting” and nothing but “brutality” as it pertains to your definition.
If you think my intent is simply to ridicule you and engage in character assassination, you’re sorely mistaken. To coin a cliche, I’m not angry with you, I’m disappointed. I know several people who would vouch for your character, which is why your statements and position on this issue has me so flummoxed and has posed a greater concern that goes far beyond the issue of legalizing MMA in New York State.
It’s been brought to my attention that a Committee member – some have indicated it may have been you – asked in last week’s Committee meeting if the sport had referees. On the surface it appears to be a legitimate question, but the answer is so obvious and it’s such a widely known fact that there are indeed referees and have been from the onset that I can’t help but wonder if members of the Committee and the Assembly as a whole are as unprepared and uneducated about matters of even greater importance to the State.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m under no impression that politicians at any level of government actually read the legislation that come across their desks. However, I would hope that an Assemblyman’s staff would at least better prepare them for the discussion and prevent those such as yourself from appearing so ignorant on any matter brought forth. I’m one of those folks that always wants to give a person the benefit of the doubt, and I certainly am not one to adopt the cliche view that Joe Voter has of politicians in this State. However, it’s hard to justify not adopting that blanket stance of politicians as incompetent and insincere statements such as the ones made to the media and in the Committee room come to light.
In other words, Assemblyman, you and your peers in Albany are better than this. I urge you to actually do some research on this issue, get the facts, and vote according to those facts.