Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Wacky Anti-MMA Editorial and a Response

NEW YORK


It's crunch time for the legislative session and the prospects of getting the MMA bill passed, so all the anti-UFC lobbyists are coming out of the woodwork to earn their paychecks. The latest: an editorial in today's Albany Times-Union, which is an influential paper that serves the Capitol region.

The gist of the piece is that the sport is too violent and not worth the money it would bring in, but there are some glaring errors in the logic. Consider this excerpt:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Neal Kwatra: The Face of the Culinary Union's Anti-UFC Battle

NEW YORK


(Neal Kwatra, left, represents the Culinary Union's anti-UFC interests in New York.)
This morning the Albany Times-Union posted an update on where things stand with getting the MMA bill passed in the Assembly. The focus of the story was the UFC's strategy of robo-calling constituents in the dozen districts still in play, and the reporter included this passage:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The FightNerd Is Doing a Film on Female Muay Thai Fighters - You Should Help

AWESOME




The Fight Nerd has long been a fixture in the New York fight scene, and his current project revolves around a documentary about female Muay Thai fighters. The clip above is the teaser trailer, the IndieGoGo pitch is here. Read it and consider helping. Sometimes the best part of a fight is the story behind it, and the Fight Nerd tells a good story.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Senator Krueger is Talking Money When She Should Be Talking Safety

NEW YORK


Senator Liz Krueger is against the Ultimate Fight Championship coming to New York, and to combat the argument that sanctioned mixed martial arts would bolster the state's economy, she says that maybe the biggest MMA organization in the world isn't as financially sound as it claims to be.

Senator Krueger is talking money when she should be talking safety.

MMA Bill Close But Still Not Quite There

NEW YORK


A02604 - the Assembly bill that would make pro MMA legal in New York - is still just a few votes shy of the 76-vote minimum required for it to move to the floor. In other words, we're are damn close, and counting today there are only 15 session days left on the calendar.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The System May Be Imperfect, But Some Things Do Go Right

NEW YORK


On Wednesday I wrote about how New York's lack of statutory regulation of amateur MMA was putting the health and safety of fighters in jeopardy, and I used the case of Noah Hughes - a fighter from upstate who was booking fights despite being badly TKO'd just a couple weeks ago - as an example. However, it's worth noting that though there are no minimum safety standards and procedures that must be met when it comes to cagefighting in New York, some strive to do the right thing. They deserve credit where credit is due.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Biggest Problem With No Amateur Regulation in New York: Dead Fighters

NEW YORK


(Noah Hughes after his May 2 fight. Photo courtesy of Zack Lynch/MMAPhotography.)
Usually, when a fighter suffers a KO or TKO, he gets a suspension that prevents him from fighting again with injuries that need more time to heal. But that's not the case in New York, where there is no statutory regulation of amateur MMA, so fighters can climb right back onto the horse that bucked them off while still feeling the effects of a fractured orbital bone or concussion.

Battle of the Millennium Poster

NEW YORK



Monday, May 4, 2015

Victory IX Poster

NEW YORK



New York's Battle Unseen

NEW YORK


Last week the New York State Assembly's Democrats met in a closed-door conference to chew over the topic of legalizing mixed martial arts, and after 90 minutes, no decision was reached. But while the discussion was tabled for a later date, the battle - unseen, and conducted via email, phone and face-to-face meetings - has continued to rage.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Conference Yields No Decision for MMA in New York

NEW YORK


The Democratic Conference of the New York State Assembly met tonight to discuss the legalization of pro MMA, and after 90 minutes of closed-door talks, no decision was made on whether or not the MMA bill should be allowed to go to the floor for a vote.

Democratic Conference to Discuss MMA in New York Tonight

NEW YORK


The New York State Assembly's Democratic Conference will meet tonight, and it's expected that the closed-door session will involve quite a bit of discussion pertaining to the merits of legalizing mixed martial arts. In other words, tonight is the night when we'll learn if 2015 is the year the MMA bill gets passed.

Here are some facts about what's going on:

Friday, April 24, 2015

The UFC Was Scouting Out New York Venues This Week

NEW YORK



UFC Executives Scout New York State Arenas as Hope
of New York Legalizing & Regulating MMA Increases

Strong Interest by UFC & Arenas to Bring Professional MMA to
Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, & New York City Area

Albany – Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC® Chairman & CEO, announced that two UFC executives spent the last three days meeting with arena managers as they toured venues from Buffalo to New York City. As the New York State Assembly will soon consider whether to pass legislation – approved by the State Senate for the last six years – making New York the 50th state to legalize professional mixed martial arts (MMA), Fertitta said the UFC wanted to be ready to move as quickly as possible to begin planning events across the Empire State.

“Let me reiterate what I’ve said publicly before, the UFC is committed to bringing some of the best and biggest events we’ve ever held to New York State if they legalize and regulate professional MMA. Over the next three years – assuming passage this year – UFC will hold a minimum of four events per year in New York, with at least two upstate events every year,” Fertitta said. “We are as excited to host events in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Albany as we are in finally bringing UFC to downstate arenas, such as the iconic Madison Square Garden and new Barclays Center.”

Earlier this week, Peter Dropick, UFC’s Senior Vice President, Event Development & Operations, and Michael Britt, UFC’s Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations, met with officials from and toured Buffalo’s First Niagara Center, Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena, Oncenter War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, Utica Memorial Auditorium, Albany’s Times Union Center, Madison Square Garden, and Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“UFC is certainly eager to bring our world class athletes and our exuberant fans – from New York, surrounding states and Canada – to venues across the state. And we know that venues and localities across the state will benefit economically from the shows and events put on by UFC and other MMA promoters,” Britt said. “A conservative estimate shows that legalizing and regulating professional MMA in New York will generate $135 million in economic activity – and bring thousands of out-of-state tourists to New York – annually.”

Jennifer Van Rysdam, VP Arena Events, First Niagara Center, said, “Having the UFC come to town and to our arena would be a chance for visitors to experience what Buffalo offers and local business owners will reap the benefits. Being a stone’s throw from Canada, we know that the passionate UFC fans from the north will be flocking across the border to see events in our arena and spend their dollars at hotels, restaurants and stores across Buffalo and Erie County.”

Jeff Calkins, General Manager of the Blue Cross Arena, said, “Having the chance to host events put on by one of the world’s premiere sports organization is an exciting thing for the Blue Cross Arena and a great promotion for Rochester and Monroe County. Our restaurants, hotels, family businesses, etc., would feel the economic impact from these events. This is where Jon Jones was born and he deserves an opportunity to perform here for his family, friends and fans.”

Michael Spaulding, Director of Arena & Theater Services for the Oncenter of Syracuse, said, "The Oncenter looks forward to the possibility of hosting a UFC event once professional MMA is approved in NYS. Just one MMA event per year would have a huge economic impact not only for our venue, but the surrounding hotels, restaurants and bars as well. Currently, amateur MMA is legal in New York, but it is not regulated. Legalizing MMA would regulate the sport both at the amateur and professional levels while ensuring the safety of the athletes."

Robert Esche, President of Mohawk Valley Garden Corporation (Utica Memorial Auditorium), said, "Tourism is a driving force of any local economy, and in recent months, Utica Memorial Auditorium has proven this to be true. We are not only excited to host high-end events like MMA in the future, but also to help grow their Northeastern fan base. We view MMA as an integral part of furthering economic development in the tourism industry of New York State.

Bob Belber, SMG Regional General Manager, Times Union Center, said, "The Times Union Center in Albany would be an excellent choice for a UFC Mixed martial arts event once the State Legislature votes to allow MMA professional fights to be presented. With more than 17,000 seats the economic impact to the Capital Region would greatly help area businesses and tax revenues for the state, county and city would add up quickly. We are thrilled for MMA fans in the Capital Region who soon may be able to come to Albany to see their favorite fighters."

Brett Yormark, Barclays Center CEO, said, “UFC aligns perfectly with our strategy of being in the big event business,” said. “We are excited to host UFC events at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the renovated Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, allowing us to reach a new fan base while driving economic activity for local businesses. It’s time. We know New Yorkers are eager for MMA.”

Joel Fisher, executive vice president, sports properties for the Madison Square Garden Company, said, “Every athlete aspires to compete at Madison Square Garden, and we eagerly anticipate providing the elite MMA fighters in the New York area and around the world the opportunity to live out that dream. Without this legislation, which also proposes important regulatory oversight, New York will continue to lose an economic opportunity to other states. We look forward to bringing the UFC phenomenon to MSG for the legions of passionate MMA fans, and for the benefit of the city and the state.”

“We continue to have strong and growing support from New Yorkers who want to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to their home state,” Fertitta said. “We are doing everything we possibly can to be ready to promote events across upstate and downstate New York. All it will take is for the New York State Assembly to join with every other state legislative body in the nation and say ‘yes’ to making the sport legal, regulated and safe.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

UFC to Keep Fighting On With Lawsuit Against New York

NEW YORK


From a press release circulated by the UFC:


FORMER UNITED STATES SOLICITOR GENERAL PAUL CLEMENT TO REPRESENT UFC® IN APPEAL OF NEW YORK’S MMA BAN

Las Vegas ‒ UFC® has retained Paul Clement, former United States Solicitor General, to spearhead the organization’s appeals process after Judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of New York’s ban on professional mixed martial arts (MMA) matches and exhibitions.

The judge’s dismissal of the UFC’s case against the State of New York in March was based on a technicality, and the decision confirms the state is misapplying the law. UFC was advised by the judge to “consider filing new vagueness claims.” Wood also stated the New York Attorney General’s “recent statements that the Ban prohibits sanctioned MMA” were made “despite [the law’s] plain language to the contrary.” UFC also believes that Judge Wood erred in failing to recognize the serious First Amendment problems with the New York law.

“We retained Paul Clement, one of the nation’s most highly respected appellate lawyers, to aggressively appeal the lower court’s technical dismissal of this matter,” UFC Chief Legal Officer Kirk Hendrick said. “Clement shares our view that New York’s law is unconstitutional and dangerous, and we will get the decision overturned.”

The State of New York passed legislation in 1997 banning professional MMA events, citing concerns for the lack of safety regulations. Since that time, the UFC has been on the forefront of athlete safety and implemented some of the most effective and strictest safety regulations in sports, resulting in 49 states and numerous countries legalizing MMA. Because New York’s law is vague, misapplied, and both overbroad and underinclusive, unsanctioned amateur MMA events—wholly unregulated and lacking necessary safety standards—have been allowed to take place.

“I am delighted to be representing the UFC in this important challenge to New York’s outdated and unconstitutional law,” Clement stated. “Even New York officials are confused about the scope of this hopelessly unclear law, and by targeting professional MMA matches and exhibitions, the law raises First Amendment problems of the first order,” he added.

Clement is a partner at Bancroft PLLC and represents a diverse range of clients in both federal and state appellate courts. He represented the National Basketball Association during labor negotiations in 2011 and the National Football League during a potential lockout season. Throughout his legal career, Clement has argued more than 75 cases in front of the United States Supreme Court and is regularly regarded as one of the most influential lawyers in the country. Confirmed by the United States Senate, Clement served as Solicitor General from June 2005 to Jun 2008. He also serves as a Distinguished Lecturer in Law at the Georgetown University Law Center and a Senior Fellow of the Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute.

The plaintiffs are also being represented in this action by Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and Jamie A. Levitt of Morrison & Foerster LLP in New York.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

UFC on FOX 15: Observations From the Press Room

NEW JERSEY



  • The toll for even just winning an MMA fight can be a great one, and never was that more evident than with the victors last night who were escorted back to the press room for a media scrum. Aljamain Sterling held a bag of ice to his side and moved like an elderly person, the victim of a pulled muscle. Chris Dempsey looked like he'd been hit by a truck, and Gian Villante was an absolute mess. Even Diego Brandao was a little dinged up.