Yes, you heard it! Our seventeen year prohibition on MMA in New York has not only solidified itself as the laughing stock of the North American MMA community, a never-ending déjà vu of legislative posturing and a simmering constitutional legal battle...now there is a full fledged COURSE as part of the Columbia University graduate program in sports management designed to address the issue! Yes, really!
In all seriousness, this is an interesting development. Columbia's press release of May 29th entitled
A Battle for the Ages – Sports Management Class Takes on the Case for Legalizing MMA in New York states:
The project -- “MMA in New York: A Study in Whether It Should Be Legalized and Regulated” -- will be led by sports law attorney Carla Varriale of Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert and Varriale, LLP. Varriale is an adjunct professor who teaches Sports Law and Ethics in the school’s sports management program. “The students are poised to study this issue. New York enjoys a plethora of professional sports, including boxing. Why is this sport such a lightning rod and, most importantly, can the controversy be overcome so New Yorkers can get the same access to the sport as the rest of North America?” said Varriale.
“Although MMA is a controversial sport, it is a popular sport that New Yorkers have an interest in, since they will travel to other states in order to watch it or are spectators via television broadcasts. The students will examine the reasons the sport was otherwise banned, whether it should now be permitted and, if so, under what sort of regulation in order to address safety concerns. The students will also follow the ongoing litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that has challenged New York’s MMA ban on First Amendment and vagueness grounds, among other things. It’s a unique class and this is an opportunity to study how legislation is made (or not) and the challenges facing an emerging sport. At the conclusion of the project, they will issue a report and they will make recommendations regarding some of the safety and risk management issues.”While it is sad on one level, that our state's prohibition on MMA has become so entrenched that an entire course can now be dedicated to it, on a different level it will be exciting to see how a fresh group of young minds will assess and tackle the issue of the ban.