Women in support of MMA take the lead in latest debate
Ottavia and Anthony Bourdain (AP Image)
Cristiane Santos, right, in action against Hitomi Akano during their fight in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts event on Saturday, April 11, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in round 3. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Female athletes and moms will take lead in the next push to legalize mixed martial arts in New York, which remains one of only two states in the country to still ban the sport.
Several MMA athletes, gym owners, mothers and other supporters of the bill proposing legalization will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday at the State Capitol to urge the Assembly to pass the MMA bill that has received Senate approval for four consecutive years.
Ottavia Bourdain, the wife of famed chef Anthony Bourdain, stepped out as a mixed martial arts fighter after watching a female competition and will be one of the featured speakers to voice her support in Albany. Bourdain has said that she viewed the sport as a healthy way to exert aggression and showcase strength for women. Bourdain entered her first Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition in March 2011 and has since acted as an avid supporter for legalizing the competition.
The bill would officially sanction the sport in the state, but like previous efforts, the State Assembly could effectively kill the bill before it even reaches the floor for a vote. Following the senate vote in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would not be opposed to legalizing mixed martial arts if it could prove to be an economic boost, which many supporters argue it would in its creation of more jobs and revenue.
In April, A Siena Research Institute poll found more support for legalizing mixed martial arts than the previous year. According to the poll, 43 percent of New Yorkers surveyed said they support legalizing MMA, while 33 percent said they opposed legalization.
Over the course of the long-contested debate, opponents have maintained that the sport is too dangerous and sensationalizes violence.