by Steven Marrocco on May 07, 2012 at 8:30 pm ET
Another year, another disappointment – or so it seems for MMA in New York.
The "New York Daily News" reported today that a bill to legalize the sport in the Empire State will not receive a vote in the assembly during this year's legislative session.
"It will not come to the floor this year," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the paper.
Silver is widely characterized as an opponent of the sport, and during last year's session quashed similar hopes to put MMA legislation to a vote when he said there wasn't support for it in the assembly.
Bills to legalize the sport have died in three previous legislative sessions in New York.
This year, a bill passed the state senate, the third such time MMA legislation has passed initial hurdles. And Silver seemed to soften his stance by acknowledging some of the sport's positives. While he reiterated his claim that the assembly was split on the issue of legalization, stating that there isn't "a groundswell of support" for the cause, he distanced himself from opponents, such as Democratic assemblyman Bob Reilly, that claim MMA promotes violence.
Today, he hinted that feelings about MMA in the assembly are "evolving," and opened the possibility that future legislation could pass.
"I don't think two years ago it was a 50-50 proposition," Silver told the Daily News.
But this year, it's apparently off the table.
The report states that several informal votes were taken today during a closed-door meeting of the assembly. Silver's first vote netted eight in favor of MMA legislation and eight opposed. An additional 25 votes against came at his prompting, but another call for those in favor resulted in a virtually even vote.
A second tally netted 60 in favor and 25 in opposition. According to the report, Silver then said he had received concerns privately about legalizing the sport and that there wasn't support for the bill.
During last year's session, Republican assemblyman Dean Murray submitted a letter of support for an MMA bill to Silver and the asssembly's Ways and Means chair Herman Farrell that was signed by 60 assembly members – Democrats and Republicans alike. And Democrat assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, the chair of the state's Labor Committee, circulated a letter that urged fellow lawmakers to consider the economic benefits of legalizing the sport in the state.
"If there's any questions as to whether or not there is support for this bill in either conference, the easiest way is to put it to the floor for an up and down vote, and we'll solve that mystery real quick," Murray then told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
But the session expired before a vote could be taken.
The UFC has strongly lobbied on behalf of MMA in New York, holding a rally earlier this year at Madison Square Garden to discuss plans to bring events to the state. At a rally held this past year, the promotion released a study that said two UFC events held in the state could generate $16 million in economic activity.
After several confident predictions, UFC president Dana White said he's given up trying to guess when MMA will be legal in New York.