While Teresa Sayward is on the right side of this topic, it looks like fans of the fastest growing sport in the country will have to wait another year to see it in New York State.
According to the Associated Press, a bill to legalize mixed martial arts in New York was left at the feet of the Assembly at the end of its session, with "no plans to approve it."
According to the report, opponents to bringing mixed martial arts to New York state that "damage to fighters appears underreported," and that the sport of MMA is "a bad example for children."
To that, I say, I let my kids watch all the time. I let them practice different submission holds on me.
First, I think that those who are opposed to the sport of MMA, which is championed mostly by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) - by the way, whose light heavyweight champ (Jon "Bones" Jones) is from Rochester - don't know what it is.
What it is not is street fighting. It's not a bloodsport and its not a barbarian fest. That's what Assembly Ways and Means Committee chair Herman Farrell believes, even going as far as to say that the next step is, "clubs with spikes on the end of them," thus proving that he has no clue what he's talking about.
It's the combination of several different types of martial arts and other forms of combat - Tae Kwon Do, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, kickboxing and boxing. Fighters use these techniques to try and either submit or knock out an opponent, just like in boxing. But, unlike boxing, when a fighter goes down once, the fight is over. There is no standing eight count. No chance for a defenseless fighter to be allowed a chance to keep fighting due to the three-knockdown rule. If you ask me, the chance for serious injury is greater in boxing - a sport New York already sanctions - then it is in the UFC.
Also, MMA is the fastest-growing sport in this country. A beer company has wrapped its entire commercial strategy around the fight call of the UFCplay-by-play man - here we go.
I am not a major fight fan, but I can name all seven UFCchamps (Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, George St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jones and Cain Velasquez). None of those guys are even the most popular fighter in the sport, a title that goes to former professional wrestler Brock Lesnar, the former heavyweight champ.
As far as boxing goes, I think Manny Pacquiao holds a title, as does one of the Klitschko brothers. I'm not even sure how many titles there are.
You don't get the draws at Madison Square Garden that you once did for boxing, because it is a dying sport. Also, boxing doesn't want to come to MSG anymore. They go to the new Cowboy Stadium and Vegas for their biggest fights.
On the other hand, the UFC is begging to come to MSG. They want the center of the sports world to be able to host the best fighters in the world, and you do not find them in boxing anymore.
I called Sayward's office, and a representative said that she would vote for the measure, if it were brought to a vote, which it wasn't for the third straight year due to the influence Farrell has over the ways and means committee.
Hey, as ring announcer Bruce (yes, he's Michael's brother) Buffer says, "IIIIIIIIt's tiiime!" for MMA in NYS.
Keith Lobdell is the editor of the Valley News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.