Smackdown at the capitol


Coming to an arena near you?

Arm twisting is nothing new at the state capitol, but yesterday they brought in some real experts. Reps from the Ultimate Fighting Championship were in town to lobby state legislators to lift a ban on the sport. New York is currently the only state that bans the fights -- in large part it seems because George Pataki found them distasteful.

But the UFC people were ready this time with a bunch of killer rhetorical moves:

+ The persuasion-as-education slap ("we need to educate people about the sport")

+ The that-was-then-this-is-now rope-a-dope ("Our position is that they banned a sport that really doesn't exist anymore.")

+ The appeal-to-patriotism poke ("I fought in Canada two weeks ago versus a Canadian. So that big 22,000-people crowd was booing my name. How would you feel about that? It was awful. If I fought the same guy in Madison Square Garden things could've been different.")

+ And, of course, the ever popular cold-hard-cash pile-driver ($10,000/month lobbyist and a $25,000 contribution to state Democrats)

A bill to lift the state ban on ultimate fighting passed the state legislature last year, but went down for the count in the senate. It sounds like Joe Bruno might be coming around, though.

photo: Flickr user Lee Brimelow, used under a CC license


"Rope-a-dope"? If we ever consulted somebody who knew anything about mixed martials arts (hint: there are a few who live in the Capital Region), we would know that the young sport of MMA is a lot different than the early no-holds-barred fights that UFC first sponsored.

The real question is.. do these fights have a storyline? I like my smackdowns to have interesting plots, flashy costumes and characters with intimidating names. Otherwise, it's just senseless violence.

>New York is currently the only state that bans the fights -- in large part it seems because George Pataki found them distasteful.

My brother is very involved with MMA/UFC and has been for years. He has to travel out of state to fight (along with other local fighters). I say legalize it, is there really a reason not to? Of course, this is also my stance on prostitution....

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