MMAThe contentious debate over legalizing mixed-martial arts in New York will be revived next year as the lawmakers remain “close” on agreeing to allowing bouts in the state, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said on Wednesday in Buffalo.

“I think it’s very close to having the support in the Assembly, but I think it will be a big topic once we get back to Albany,” Heastie said of MMA.

Supporters of legalizing the sport were disappointed at the end of the legislative session when, despite word of a brokered compromise between the Assembly and Republican-led Senate on an MMA bill, the measure stalled in the final days. 

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Sen. Joe Griffo, the measure’s lead sponsors, sought to build an insurance framework around MMA and other combat-related sports that are already regulated by the state.

Some opponents in the Legislature have expressed concern with the sport’s violence and an opposition campaign has been led by a Las Vegas-based union that is in a labor dispute with Ultimate Fighting Championship, a prominent promotions company for MMA.

The speaker, a Bronx Democrat, was touring western New York and Buffalo this week, another leg on his broader upstate tour that has taken him to various points around the state, including the Southern Tier, Rochester and Syracuse areas.

Heastie said his tour of upstate New York will lead to potential legislative action in the coming 2016 legislative session.

“We’re going to issue a report after the upstate tour on, I’d say, my fact-finding mission and we’re going to come out with some ideas with what we think we should do on the visits with the different industries,” he said.