The State of New York will close for business next week unless its comically inept legislature can pass a balanced budget. (It was due April 1.) Instead, they decided to spend the day arguing about MMA....with predictably zany results.
Mixed martial arts matches are currently against the law in the Empire State, but the State Senate passed a resolution today that would establish a boxing-like governing board to oversee the newly sanctioned "combat sports" events. Believe it or not, this is actually relevant business since the government is desperate for new sources of tax revenue. Repeat: This is not a complete waste of time.
I can't believe that we've wasted an hour of valuable time this afternoon," said Republican Bill Larkin. ...
"We should be ashamed of ourselves as a legislative body. … I'll be able to look at my grandchildren and say, ‘I won't let you watch it on TV and I didn't vote for it in Albany' "
Wow. Bill Larkin's grandchildren must hate him. (He also apparently said something about the sport being a "hoodlum training program.") It seems the chamber was sharply divided between reasonable people who see a nice moneymaking opportunity—and a chance to stamp out illegal underground cage fights—and paranoid old folks who have no idea what takes place at an actual MMA event.
Diane Savino compared MMA to the days of the gladiators, when Christians and Jews were fed to the lions.
"Talk about rhetoric," John DeFrancisco said in response. He then archly suggested that "maybe we could solve the budget crisis by Carl Kruger and I getting into the ring, rather than doing our weekly battle."
Sen. Frank Padavan pointed out to Savino that "many of the gladiators were consenting adults. This is a matter of fact."
Interesting, if true. The bill narrowly passed by a 32-26 vote (a similar bill is currently making its way through the State Assembly), but somehow even when this notoriously corrupt and buffoonish chamber manages to do something useful, they still come across like childish ninnies.
I mean, clearly these people are overreacting. As far as I know, only three lions have ever held a UFC championship belt and one of them was a vegetarian. (This is a matter of fact!)
Ultimate fighting wins Senate vote [Albany Times Union]