If mixed martial arts is going to get sanctioned in New York, the sport will still have to go through the opposition of New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who won his re-election campaign on Tuesday night.
Reilly, the incumbent on the ticket, defeated Republican opponent Jennifer Whalen by a margin of 577 votes, with 100% of the precincts reporting in.
Reilly has been staunch opposition for mixed martial arts gaining sanctioning in the state, going as far as distributing literature to other members in the assembly, and openly campaigning against the sport being legalized in the state.
“I think that (MMA) basically is a glorification of violence, but it certainly promotes violence,” Reilly told MMAWeekly.com in a 2009 interview. “In itself, I think it’s a very brutal sport that creates, obviously, physical harm to the participants, and I don’t think there’s any other sport who’s purpose is to harm your opponent. But we know that in mixed martial arts, that, in fact, is one of the purposes.”
A member of the New York State Assembly’s Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committee, Reilly has long stood against the sport, and it’s doubtful he’ll be changing his mind when the next session takes up following the Tuesday elections.
While Reilly’s victory may be a slight setback for MMA in the state of New York, the election of new Governor Andrew Cuomo may bring better results in the long run for the sport’s sanctioning in the state. While Cuomo hasn’t stated his opinion on the sport of MMA one way or another, Zuffa officials felt strongly enough about the Democratic candidate to contribute upwards of $75,000 to his campaign.
Zuffa however did not contribute anything to his opponent and eventual runner-up, Republican Carl Paladino.
In other election news, Senator Harry Reid, who UFC president Dana White openly campaigned for, was re-elected defeating Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada. Several MMA fighters including former UFC champions Frank Mir and Randy Couture spoke out in support of Reid leading up to the election.
It will be Reid’s fifth term in Nevada’s Senate seat, where he serves as the senior United States Senator.