MMA bill heads to NYS Assembly for fifth time

By Matt Porter

May 14, 2014 Updated May 15, 2014 at 6:09 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Alex Sinprasith has trained for six years to get ready for professional MMA, but the biggest fight to bring pro MMA fights to New York takes place in Albany.

The New York State Senate passed a bill to allow professional Mixed Martial Arts fights in the state for the fifth time, but the bill still requires passage by the Assembly before it can be signed into law.

Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver (D-65th) has not been willing to bring the measure up for a vote in the last four years.

Sinprasith said professional fights get more attention and more tickets, a necessary step to move up in the ring.

"A lot of it has to do with how you promote yourself and your ticket sales," Sinprasith said. "So that would benefit in helping us get to the next level."

Jason Porter trains amateur fighters at Five Element MMA in Vestal.

He said many of his fighters can't afford to travel to out of state pro matches.

"It's going to help those who are chasing that dream kind of fulfill it," Porter said. "I think you'd see kids not fulfill that dream because they don't have the revenue coming in to support themselves."

Assemblyman Clifford Crouch (R-122nd) said New York is losing out on major revenue to its neighbors by banning professional MMA.

"The sales tax revenue, people coming over, staying all of that. As far as the economic development side of it, we're missing out on that currently," Crouch said. "Our residents are traveling out of state to watch mixed martial arts."

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-123rd) said she supports MMA although recent surveys done by her office show many people still divided.

The deadline for the assembly to vote on the bill is June 19, and Lupardo worries that's not enough time.

"It’s certainly not too late for this bill to move forward before the end of session, but it appears increasingly unlikely," Lupardo said.

For amateur fighters like Sinprasith, the chance to fight in front of a home crowd is the stuff dreams are made of.

"Being home fighting is just something that every fighter wants to do," Sinprasith said, "Fight in front of their home crowd, fight in front of their family and friends."

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