UFC'S BID TO LEGALIZE MMA IN NEW YORK THWARTED AGAIN
By Scott Shaffer
UFC, the world's leading promoter of mixed martial arts, suffered another setback in its bid to have the sport legalized in New York. UFC had filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a 1997 law prohibiting the live performance of MMA in New York. UFC argues that the sport is now safe, legal in 45 states, and there is no valid reason to treat it differently from boxing, which of course is legal in New York. However, Judge Kimba Wood dismissed part of UFC's case today, saying that it was up to politicians, not a judge, to decide whether MMA is now safe enough to legalize. Judge Wood found nothing irrational about drawing a legal distinction between boxing and MMA: "The Court accepts as true that... the medical studies suggested that MMA was not more dangerous than other sports [but] the New York legislature is not required to legislate uniform restrictions governing combat and contact sports. It is well within the discretion of the legislature to enact a law addressing one sport today, while leaving legislation concerning others to another day... The New York legislature [might] have rationally considered MMA a threat to public morals and a negative influence on its youth [when it banned MMA]... Plaintiffs’ proper recourse is with the legislature because the 'Constitution presumes that, absent some reason to infer antipathy, even improvident decisions will eventually be rectified by the democratic process and that judicial intervention is generally unwarranted no matter how unwisely [a court] may think that a political branch has acted.'" The case will continue, despite this setback to UFC.