One of mixed martial art's most outspoken critics in New York, Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, said his no vote was not enough to prevent a bill legalizing mixed-martial arts from passing through committee.
Reilly said the New York State Assembly's committee on tourism, arts and sports development approved a bill to legalize MMA in New York.
Reilly said the bill passed the tourism committee 12-to-9 Thursday, June 3, but still has to go through the ways and means committee before it could come to a floor vote.
Reilly has advocated against MMA due to its violent nature, and he said the potential financial benefits are not worth it.
"It's disappointing that the committee decided that a bit of short-term revenue is more important than discouraging violence," Reilly said. "The men who take part in ultimate fighting often beat each other senselessly and without mercy."
A 1997 bill banned MMA in New York, but in 2008 it was introduced to the tourism committee.
"In our culture, we idolize professional athletes. On the playground, children often imitate their favorite baseball, basketball and football players. Sadly, recent reports suggest that youngsters are increasingly imitating their favorite ultimate fighters," Reilly said. "Ultimate fighting is an ultimate disgrace, it not only sends the wrong message to our children, but is a far cry from boxing, karate and Olympic sports that employ traditional rules and help protect their competitors.
Reilly cite a recent story out of California where an MMA fighter who was arrested for tearing the heart out of his sparring partner in an alleged murder.
"Is this the type of sports heroes our children should be presented with?" he asked.
Reilly said both independent and private polls show more than two-thirds of New York residents oppose MMA legalization. He said the bill is unlikely to pass.