The New York State Assembly members who were against lifting the ban on mixed martial arts had plenty to say about the sport Tuesday in their conference — some of it borderline offensive.
One Assemblyman said MMA was like “gay porn.” Another compared it to fights between slaves on the plantation. Multiple members of the legislative body pegged fighters as criminals and domestic abusers.
Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, speaking on a conference call Tuesday after the MMA bill passed by a vote of 113-25, said he was pretty stunned by the comments.
“Some of the things they were saying were so ridiculous that I was actually happy and embarrassed for them for even bringing it up,” Weidman said. “It’s things I’ve heard people behind closed doors might be saying, but to hear them say it live and to the public, I actually thought it was pretty interesting — and probably good for us. I just thought it was embarrassing on their part.”
Weidman, 31, hails from Long Island, N.Y., and has been arguably the most active fighter in lobbying for mixed martial arts to get legalized in his home state. He said on the call that there were times when he was discouraged and thought it would never get done. The New York State Senate had passed the bill seven years in a row, but the Assembly never even brought it to a vote until this year.
Politics, lobbying and the influence of former speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted of federal fraud charges last year, kept MMA in limbo. The bill met a ton of opposition from the Culinary Union in Las Vegas, which has a long-standing feud with the Fertitta brothers, who own the UFC.
Hon. Daniel J. O’Donnell of Manhattan commented on lobbying aspect of this process Tuesday ….View full article
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