State Attorney General Admits Amateur MMA is not banned in New York

The Fight Nerd January 31, 2012 5

The battle for MMA in NY just got a bit more interesting! Two months after Zuffa Entertainment filed a lawsuit against the New York State Attorney General on the grounds that the state’s ban on MMA is a violation of First Amendment rights, the plaintiffs predictably responded with a move to dismiss.  This tidbit of info comes from page 21 of the New York State Attorney General’s motion to dismiss, which states that while professional MMA may be illegal in The Big Apple, amateur MMA is technically not. Here is the pertinent paragraphs from the official document:

Plaintiffs also object to NY Unconsol. Law Sec. 8905-a, because, while it prohibits ‘live professional MMA,’ it is silent as to amateur MMA contests, which ‘undoubtedly occur every day’. They further claim the statue is ‘vague’ as it is unclear whether the ban applies to amateur MMA exhibitions. To the extent that it does not ban amateur MMA exhibitions, Plaintiffs assert that the disparate treatment of professional and amateur MMA activities violates the equal protection clause. This claim, too, is meritless.

The statute’s provision on its face explicitly speaks to ‘professional’ combative sports and does not address amateur sports. Moreover, while the legislature, in another statute, regulates amateur boxing and wrestling, the legislature has not enacted a provision expressly addressing any amateur martial arts activity. Accordingly, the statute does not treat amateur MMA bouts any differently from amateur bouts involving traditional martial arts.

And, to the extent that the legislature, with regard to traditional and mixed martial arts, has drawn a distinction between amateur and professional bouts, it hardly needs saying that a rational basis exists for such a distinction. Moreover, Plaintiffs, themselves, aver in the Complaint that it was not until the statute was enacted that amateur MMA contests began to proliferate. Plainly, the legislature had a rational basis for explicitly banning professional MMA bouts, but not to address amateur contests.

While the above argument is meant as an attempt to dismiss the current assault on the MMA ban, it is now the official stand of the New York State Attorney General that amateur and exhibition mixed martial arts matches are legal in the state of New York. As shown in other states, the development of MMA is reliant on state sanctioning, which amateur MMA still does not have, even if it is not expressly banned. But, the fact that amateur MMA is now officially legal will have a big impact on the legislative argument to sanction all forms of MMA. You can read the full document at this link here.

Via MMA Journalist


5 Comments »

  1. mike February 1, 2012 at 10:36 AM -

    Keep in mind it states exhibitions. Essentially MMA exhibitions can exist however if at the end of an exhibition you raise one persons hand and have a winner you will be in violation. You need to call every match a draw as it is only an exhibition.

  2. bluetheimpala February 1, 2012 at 6:46 PM -

    Are you serious? The hypocrisy surrounding MMA is the tip of the iceberg in america. Legal pot and sex on the state level but illegal federally. Super PACs. Joe Corzine and MF Global’s demise with 1 billion missing. Mitt fucking Romney, a man worth a quarter billion, paying a lower tax rate than the average joe, and a crazy mormon to boot, could be the next president. That last one is a zinger: you’ll have yet another president who thinks Jesus is coming back and cavemen hung with dinosaurs…

    You can’t look at MMA as an isolated instance. America is so fucked right now.

  3. fingerssfv February 1, 2012 at 8:05 PM -

    OK, well then, let’s have exhibition fights, using Professional fighters. What’s wrong with stipends? They will not be getting paid for their exhibition bouts, right? Well, then let’s do this !!!

  4. antonis February 2, 2012 at 3:23 PM -

    New York must forgive the old mma and behave like an adult accepting and allowing the progression of sports.

  5. Katrina February 3, 2012 at 8:05 PM -

    Great! So ammy MMA fighting, or exhibitions, are legal, but not regulated…so we’re going to have a bunch of kids running around pounding each other, with no supervision, improperly trained refs, and no medical staff on hand, and that’s okay? You know it’s a matter of time before someone’s going to get seriously hurt and/or killed, and they’ll blame MMA. But they won’t sanction PRO MMA? Are these people just really THAT clueless?

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