Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s conditional support for legalizing professional mixed martial arts, a handful of women’s groups and anti-violence organizations are pushing back.
The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence late Tuesday sent a letter to Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, calling on them to “resist efforts … to bring these violent spectacles to New York.”
In particular, the letter—which was signed by nine different groups, including the state chapter of the National Organization for Women—takes issue with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, by far the largest promoter of MMA. (It’s similar to one sent by labor and faith groups to Silver last month.)
The letter (read it after the jump) asks: “Why, in a state that just enacted tough new legislation addressing the epidemic of domestic assault, would we reverse course and expose our children to the violent misogyny and perverse forms of masculinity that are celebrated in the world of amateur and professional cage fighting?”
The New York State Catholic Conference has also weighed in, issuing a memorandum calling on the state to “not lower itself to looking for dollars by partnering with an industry that promotes excessive violence for violence’s sake.”
“The state rightfully attempts to protect children from obscene hardcore pornography and events featuring nudity or live sex acts,” the memo reads. Should we be any less vigilant about protecting them from what is surely obscene violence?”
Cuomo on Tuesday said the state should pursue lifting New York’s 1997 ban on pro MMA bouts, but said he would like to see a commitment from the UFC to host numerous events in the state, as well as estimates for the potential economic impact to the state. The bill to lift the ban has been passed by the Senate, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has not committed to bringing it to the floor for a vote.