Just weeks after the UFC held a press conference at Madison Square Garden to hopefully turn the wheels in motion to have mixed martial arts sanctioned in the state of New York, the sport was dealt a decided blow when Governor Andrew Cuomo released his budget.
Hopes were high that Cuomo would include mixed martial arts in his 2011 budget, but alas he did not include it in his final numbers.
The budget isn’t the last striking point for MMA in New York, but as Assemblyman Dean Murray (R) said last month, it would be a huge step in the right direction.
“I’ve actually contacted the Governor’s office and asked him to include this in the Governor’s budget this year. So we’re going to wait and see if it is included in the budget. If it’s not, I’m hoping that we’ll bring it to the floor for a vote,” Murray commented.
“If it’s in the budget, it has a much better shot of staying in the budget.”
Unfortunately, the $10 billion dollar deficit currently facing the state overwhelmed the budget beyond anything MMA related.
Possibly the more disturbing part of the budget’s release this week was the inclusion that the state intends to eliminate the position for the salary of the Chair of the State Athletic Commission.
The position is currently held by Melvina Lathan, and currently the commission primarily oversees boxing in the state, but that would change of course if mixed martial arts sanctioning takes place. MMAWeekly.com has reached out to Lathan to receive comment on the proposed budget cuts, but at this time no comment has been given.
UFC President Dana White has long talked about sanctioning in New York, and while the budget being released without MMA on the agenda is in no way a nail in the coffin when it comes to the sport being sanctioned there, it certainly doesn’t help matters.
“New York’s a crazy place to navigate politically. We all know it’s ridiculous that this thing isn’t sanctioned in New York,” White said on Wednesday.
“At the end of the day do we really need New York? No. But New York should be open, there should be mixed martial arts in New York. I’m done with predictions on New York. Whenever it happens, it happens.”
MMA could still gain sanctioning through means of being approved through legislature at the state level in New York, but as of now there’s no clear indicator that will happen any time soon.