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Mixed Martial Arts: Should The Sport Be Sanctioned In New York?

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Should New York State legalize the sport of Mixed Martial Arts? Proponents of the sport have fought for years to get the state to lift its band on the sport, and appear to be making some headway. The State Senate voted 42-18 on Monday to sanction the sport in New York.

This the second consecutive year the Senate has passed the measure. The measure has never reached the Assembly floor for a vote. The sport has been banned in New York since 1997.

In the Huffington Post Monday, Steven Jefferies made an impassioned argument for legalizing the sport in New York.

Despite the sport's rapid maturation and impeccable safety record, opponents in Albany have repeatedly stonewalled the MMA bill from reaching an assembly vote, and have recently excluded legalization language from the 2011 state budget. They argue that the sport's violent nature is a bad example for young New Yorkers. Banning live events in the state, however, will hardly shield New York's youth from exposure to MMA, which now regularly airs on network television. In reality, the ban perpetuates violence in the state by limiting its athletes' ability to partake in regulated competition. As a result, underground, and under-regulated, brawls take place in New York that often provide inadequate protection to uninsured athletes. State regulation, on top of creating jobs and generating revenue in local economies, would end these dangerous events. ...

While 45 U.S. states and international venues such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia welcome MMA with open arms, thousands of New Yorkers are left wondering if they will ever see the names of their favorite fighters across the marquis at Madison Square Garden.

The argument of lawmakers who want the ban to remain in place is summed up in part by Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, who said the state should not sanction events is which the aim is to do the "most damage possible" to an opponent.

How dangerous is Mixed Martial Arts? SB Nation's 'Bloody Elbow' examined this issue on Monday with a startingly candid assessment of the sport's brutality.

It should be fairly obvious to anyone with a brain and a pair of functioning eyeballs that MMA is an inherently dangerous undertaking, especially at the UFC level. Yet since it's not as dangerous as the hysterical opponents of the sport claimed, and is arguably less dangerous than comparable sports like boxing, football and hockey, many hardcore fans forget that it's a brutal undertaking that exacts a serious toll on the physical well-being of competitors.

The human body is a fragile thing and MMA puts it at risk of serious, permanent damage. Injuries are part of life and can happen during any activity, but let's not kid ourselves that MMA is "safe" -- it's not and never will be. Promoters, regulators, athletes and fans must work together to make the sport as safe as possible and that entails an open-eyed assessment of the risks involved.

Should New York drop its ban and allow MMA events to be held here? Vote in the poll and let us know how you feel.