Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, today questioned whether there’s enough support in the Assembly Democratic conference to support the legalization of mixed-martial arts in New York, saying he believes most women lawmakers are against it.
“We are going to take it up in conference,” Silver told reporters. “I know there are a number of women who support it, there are a number of women who oppose it. I don’t think the women support it, if you took the majority of women in our conference.”
Despite lobbying pressure from MMA supporters, the Democratic-led Assembly has rejected efforts in recent years to make the sport legal in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t backed it either and said he’s looking at it from an economic perspective.
Silver downplayed the potential financial benefit to the state if the bill, which has repeatedly passed the Republican-led Senate, is approved by the Assembly.
“I don’t think the money is very significant. I’ve seen estimates of $2 million on an annual basis. The highest I’ve seen is $5 million,” he said, adding that if you like MMA, you can watch it on television.
Silver is facing pressure from women in his conference after two reports last month showed he didn’t swiftly take action against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn, for sexually harassing his aides.
Silver was also asked about Cuomo’s tax-free zones proposal, and Silver said it’s something that they need to “fine tune.”
He said he hasn’t seen a bill yet on Cuomo’s women’s agenda, which is expected to be released tomorrow.