Saturday, October 24, 2009
Eddie's knowledge of the history of the sport cannot be overstated. When I started covering MMA back in 2001, he was someone I looked up to in terms of the scope and breadth of what he knew, his fashion sense notwithstanding. Melvina gets the conch shell again, and like when she spoke at the legislative roundtable earlier this year, she brings up the scourge known as unsanctioned underground shows. Somewhere, Peter Storm's ears are ringing. Uh oh, now Eddie's talking about underground fights, and he's bringing up Doug Dedge, the American who fought in an unsanctioned show in the Ukraine and died. Someone must've clued him in about the death toll events like the UCL and Empire State Warrior Challenge have left in their wake. Okay, now it's open to questions from the audience. Some lunatic is ranting and raving about being a Tae Kwon Do champ and member of Lions Den and smokers and, God, I can't figure out where he's going with this. I think he hates the government or something. Now he's going on about Matt Hughes and Tim Sylvia raping a girl and Dana White paying her 2 million bucks in hush money. Oh this is gold. To his credit, Mike Kim is responding with calm and poise and is difusing Mr. Crazy Lions Den Guy Who Did Tae Kwon Do. Okay, things are drawing to a close. Overall, it seems the future of MMA is optimistic - with a side of crazy.
It's time now for the panel discussion title "The Future of MMA in New York". The speakers include athletic commission chairwoman Melvina Lathan, Mike Kim (the guy who drafted the legislation that will soon be passed legalizing pro MMA), and Eddie Goldman. Also on hand are an assortment of fortune tellers, soothsayers, prognosticators, clairvoyants and gypsies that read chicken gizzards. Melvina is up first, and the crux of her speech is a brief history of the commission's oversight of MMA before it was banned in 1996. She stresses that the commission currently has no regulatory power over it, that the law has to change. Mike Kim is now talking about the legalization process and where the MMA bill stands. Eddie, meanwhile, is contributing by blowing up balloons and making animals and a crown.
MMA Journalist is here at the Javits Center in Manhattan for the inaugural World MMA Expo, a convention of sorts featuring vendors, demos, guest speakers and religious zealots out to convert bystanders into followers of jiu-jitsu, wrestling and Muay Thai. The turnout isn't bad - not as huge as when the nerds gather for a ComicCon or something, but there's a decent amount of people. Pete Sell, Pete Spratt and Phillipe Nover are in a cage giving autographs, and the line is pretty long for that, and a healthy crowd is gathered around a mat to watch Marcelo Garcia display his absolute mastery of Tai Chi. Or something. Also present: the Fight Nerd, Doug from Evolution Combat Club, and Eddie "Bad Mofo" Goldman. I'm going to try to get Eddie to sign my chest.