Mixed martial arts debate begins again among state legislators - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Mixed martial arts debate begins again among state legislators


ALBANY, N.Y. - The debate over legalizing mixed martial arts in New York State will heat up again this week, as a Senate committee plans to take up a bill.

Lawmakers say the debate is not a new one, with two strong stances on the issue.

Some say it comes down to economics and the amount of revenue mixed martial arts could bring to New York, while others oppose it because of the style of fighting it involves.

Mixed martial arts is a combination of Brazilian jiu jitsu, judo, boxing and wrestling.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has had its sights set on bringing the sport to New York for years.

"Every year these issues come up and all of a sudden you have a breakthrough and things get passed," says Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin. "So I think there's a shot here at getting it done in a bi-partisan way. I'd say put it on the floor and let the members vote."

McLaughlin says he looks at MMA from an economic standpoint and asks why other states should benefit from revenue that New York could be taking in.

"We can debate about whether or not it should be happening, but the reality is it's economically a big boom for the area and for the state if we go ahead and do this," he says.

"Fans are what makes this sport," adds Matt Secor, a local fighter from South Glens Falls. "Fighting in your state, it's like playing in an away game versus a home game, you're always playing better in a home game."

Secor was on FX's season 16 of "The Ultimate Fighter."

"It's just like anything, maybe once you see it, you'll say, okay, it's not that bad," he says.

But there are many who oppose MMA and oppose it being legalized in New York.

In a letter to all State Assembly members last year, the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence against MMA in New York wrote, "We urge you to continue to uphold the ban on cage fighting, given that the UFC, the largest promoter of cage fighting events in the U.S., has failed to demonstrate that it is willing to ensure its fighters behave in a socially responsible way."

But Secor disagrees, saying MMA should be given a chance.

"Fighting is not a normal thing for us, but we regulated it to be a sport. It's a sport, it's not a fight, it's a sport."

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