Wow, and I hadn’t had a good #headdesk today.
I had mentioned a few months ago that Zuffa (parent company for the UFC) is suing the state of New York to get the ban on mixed martial arts overturned on constitutional grounds. At first read, it seems like a frivolous lawsuit, which the Attorney General’s office apparently agrees with because they filed a motion to dismiss.
Here’s the run though…there reason? It’s because mixed martial arts isn’t illegal in New York, it’s just illegal professionally. From The Fight Nerd…
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.
So let me get this straight. The state of New York presumably doesn’t want to legalize professional mixed martial arts (and all the millions and millions of dollars in revue that would by pumped into the state) because it’s too violent and human cockfighthing and whatever other mid 90’s cliche is still being thrown around.
But it’s cool with amateur mixed martial arts?