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Continuing to Debate the Legalization Of Mixed Martial Arts in New York

The legalization of Mixed Martial Arts in New York continues to be a hot topic for not only fans of the sport, but the legal and regulatory communities as well.  These different communities all came together recently at a public forum presented by the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) – where dozens of MMA enthusiasts, attorneys and others in the sports promotion industry gathered to learn more about the legal and regulatory issues surrounding legalizing MMA in New York – as well as the potential economic impact if it were legalized.

The public forum, “MMAadness: Issues Surrounding the Legalization of Mixed Martial Arts in New York” featured some lively debates on this topic – including addressing the differences between the sport of boxing and the sport of MMA and how those differences are considered by members of the State Senate and Assembly,  as well as a comparison of the risks of competing in either sport.  As a leader in the area of dietary supplement law and sports drug defense, <!–CMG attorney Michael DiMaggio was asked to sit on the prestigious panel to address the role of drug testing in MMA,–> the effect that reports of athletes testing positive has had on the public relations campaign for MMA and the prevalence, effects and risks of drug use in existing unregulated “underground” MMA competitions.

Others on the panel included Joseph DeGuardia, Esq., owner of Star Boxing, a boxing promotional company and president of the Boxing Promoters Association; Kurt Emhoff, Esq., attorney at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman and licensed boxing manager; Paul Haberman, Esq., licensed boxing manager and chair, Entertainment, Media, Intellectual Property and Sports Law Committee’s (EMIPS) Sports Law Subcommittee; and David N. Weinraub, managing partner, Brown & Weinraub Esq.

Organized and moderated by Paul Haberman, the forum was an important step in looking at the key issues surrounding legalizing MMA in New York and presented a number of valuable perspectives on a topic that will surely continue to be followed both by fans of the sport, and the legal community, in the months and years to come.  While the debate may continue, legalization of MMA in New York is a logical step, allowing the ever-growing MMA fan base to attend events within the State and not losing the revenues of this popular sport to neighboring jurisdictions.  We support it … and intend to continue ‘going to the mat’ on behalf of our clients in the MMA community.

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