Monday, February 8, 2016

Flashback: International Fight Night, Brooklyn's Russian MMA Promotion

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New York teeters on the precipice of drastic change, all set to tumble headlong into the chasm of acceptance, and soon what was will nevermore be – all of which is just a fancy way of saying it’s time to take a walk down memory lane.

If you were in Brooklyn in 2001, and you wandered south of the Belt Parkway to the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach, you might have seen the posters. Colorful posters, taped to lamp posts and hanging in the windows of shops whose awnings bore Cyrillic letters. The posters promised violence, promised heroes to cheer for, promised a slice of the kind of thrills offered by the UFC (which was at the time banned from pay-per-view, but would soon make a comeback in a big way).

The posters advertised something called “International Fight Night”.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Senate Passed Their MMA Bill Yesterday - Why This Time Around It's Special

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The New York State Senate approved their version of the MMA Bill yesterday by a vote of 48 to 14, making it the eighth time in seven years they've done so (last year they did it twice, with the extra thumbs-up coming after the MMA Bill was overhauled and revised). The Republican-run Senate has never been much of a problem for proponents of the sport - the hold-up has traditionally been in the Assembly, which has yet to vote on their version and whose approval is needed to turn both bills into a law. So big deal, right? The Senate just did what it's always done, and there's nothing to be too thrilled about - right? Not quite. Before you dismiss what happened yesterday as something less than noteworthy, consider the timing of the Senate's actions.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Interview With New York MMA Pioneer Nardu Debrah

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In the early 2000s, Nardu Debrah was fighting in rings set up in Russian restaurants in Brighton Beach, hotel ballrooms in Midtown Manhattan, and nightclubs off the Long Island Expressway. Nowadays, though, he's an elder statesman of the sport, with a black belt under Renzo Gracie and a school out in Brooklyn - a school that's produced none other than ROC champ and UFC newcomer Randy Brown. 

While Brown was fulfilling his contractual obligations of talking to the assembled media at the UFC on FOX 18 open workouts in Hoboken, N.J., Debrah was kind enough to let me stick a camera in his face and grill him. 

Why would I want to skip over the fresh-faced rookie for a chance to rap with the salty veteran? Because Brown's got all the time in the world to make history, but when it comes to the history of MMA in New York, Debrah long ago made himself an important part of it.

UFC Newark Open Workouts: Sage Northcutt Making the Girls Swoon


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UFC Newark Open Workouts: Josh Barnett Attacked by Luchador


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UFC Newark Open Workouts: Rumble Hitting the Pads


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Monday, January 25, 2016

The UFC Lost in Court Today, But What Does It Really Mean?

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The UFC lost in court today, but it's not as bad as you may think.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

More Reason to Be Optimistic That MMA Is Getting Legalized Soon

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In case you already weren't feeling optimistic about professional MMA getting legalized in New York this year because of the governor including it in his budget proposal, Josh Rosenblatt over at Fightland has got something more to lift your spirits. According to a source on the inside, an MMA bill being passed is practically a done deal.

Take it away, Josh:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why Governor Cuomo Supporting MMA Is a Big Deal

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Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his budget proposal for 2016, and in it he included a provision for sanctioning both professional and amateur MMA in New York.

In case you were unsure, this is a big deal. A very big deal.

To fully grasp why, you need to understand a little history and a little politics.

Combat at the Capitale Poster

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Statement From UFC on New York Governor Supporting MMA

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Statement from
Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman & CEO
On Governor Including Legalizing MMA in Executive Budget

“On behalf of the UFC and on behalf of all MMA fans in New York, thank you, Governor Cuomo.

“We are very pleased that, as part of his budget proposal, Governor Cuomo has called for legalizing professional MMA in New York – the only state in America where it is illegal – and has asked the State Athletic Commission to regulate both professional and amateur MMA. It’s the right thing to do for fans and more importantly, it’s the right thing to do to help protect the health and safety of athletes.

“Of course, we continue to be strongly supportive of and grateful to Senator Joe Griffo and the New York State Senate, which has passed a bill to legalize and regulate MMA for the last six consecutive years. We also remain supportive of Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, the more than 70 Assembly sponsors and additional Assembly supporters of his bill.

“We will be working with the Governor and both houses of the Legislature to make 2016 the year that UFC and other MMA promoters have the opportunity to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to arenas from one end of the state to the other.”

New York MMA Bill Status Update - 1.13.16

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New York's 2016 legislative session has begun, and with it comes the renewed fight to get the 1997 ban on professional MMA competition reversed via the "MMA Bill".

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Top Five of 2015 Countdown - #1: You

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We're counting down the top five most notable aspects of New York MMA from 2015, and we're up to...
#1: You - It was close - so very close - but it didn't happen. That's right, I'm talking about the passage of the MMA Bill, which would have lifted the ban on professional MMA that's been in place since 1997, and it would've taken measures to make amateur iterations of the sport much safer.

However, what did happen is we all got to see how deep and passionate the MMA fanbase is here in New York.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Five of 2015 Countdown - #2: The NYFE and Aggressive Combat Championships

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We're counting down the top five most notable aspects of New York MMA from 2015, and we're up to...
#2: The NYFE and Aggressive Combat Championships - It's easy to make a buck as a promoter in New York when you cut corners on fighter safety. The tricky thing is to run a show that is safe - where the officials are trained and the fighters screened and cared for by medical personnel. The promoters who can manage that, and stay in business, well, those are the special ones.

Monday, December 28, 2015

AXS-TV's Latest on the Battle for MMA in New York

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Top Five of 2015 Countdown - #3: Jillian DeCoursey

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We're counting down the top five most notable aspects of New York MMA from 2015, and we're up to...

#3: Jillian DeCoursey - It's impossible to deny that, in terms of mainstream impact, 2015 was a year dominated by the ups and downs of a female fighter named Ronda Rousey. But something similar happened in the microcosm that is New York MMA - and her name was Jillian DeCoursey.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Top Five of 2015 Countdown - #4: The USMTA

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We're counting down the top five most notable aspects of New York MMA from 2015, and we're up to...

#4: The USMTA - By now the story is so old it's growing grey hairs: The UFC filed a lawsuit against the State of New York in late 2011, claiming the law banning MMA was Unconstitutional, and in early 2012, in a legal brief that was responding to those claims, the State Attorney General offhandedly admitted that amateur MMA wasn't banned at all. Thus the modern amateur MMA scene in New York was born, and with that birth came the inclination for some promoters to "do things by the book" and be sanctioned.

The Top Five of 2015 Countdown - #5: The Revised MMA Bill

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The timekeeper has given us the ten-second warning, and the clock is running out on 2015. That means it's time to count down the top five most notable things pertaining to New York MMA from the last 12 months. Because although we can't have a UFC here - yet - we sure as hell have a ton of mixed martial arts.

#5: The Revised MMA Bill - This year was not politics as usual when it came to the seemingly never-ending slog to get the law banning pro MMA changed. First, longtime hater Sheldon Silver fell prey to corruption charges, which prompted him to step down as Assembly Speaker. He was replaced by Assemblyman Carl Heastie, a supporter of the sport, and while the sudden shift in power may not have forced a recalculating of the legislative math, it did create an opening.