Thursday, December 16, 2010

On the Eve of the WEC's Swan Song, a Fond Look Back

After nine years, it all comes to an end.  Tonight’s WEC 53: “Henderson vs. Pettis” marks the final World Extreme Cagefighting event ever, with the Zuffa-owned promotion folding into the UFC and dozens of lighter-weight fighters wondering if they’re going to have a job in the coming months.  But now is not the time for pondering such employment issues.  Now is the time for nostalgia, for a trip down memory lane and a fond look back.  Granted, as MMA Journalist is an East Coast-based blog and I’ve never seen a live WEC event in person (the first WEC I saw was broadcast on Versus), this collection might be a bit esoteric… but hey, the last WEC ever, man.  Just go with it.

  • WEC 30: “McCullough vs. Crunkilton”, September 5, 2007 – “Razor” Rob McCullough out-struck Rich Crunkilton to defend his 155-pound belt and Chase Beebe nullified the jiu-jitsu of Rani Yahya to keep his bantamweight strap, but what sticks out the most about this night was the debut of my new television, a 52-inch Sony XBR LCD.  As our prior TV set was a 13-inch black and white Panasonic we found discarded on the sidewalk, this was indeed a step up.
  • WEC 36: “Faber vs. Brown”, November 5, 2008 – At the time it was considered an upset when Mike Brown TKO’d Urijah Faber and Leonard Garcia abruptly clobbered Jens Pulver.  However, the only thing I was considering was the food being served at Phillipe Nover’s TUF 8 viewing party, a season he figured prominently in.  As this WEC event was broadcast on a Wednesday night and preceded The Ultimate Fighter on SpikeTV, all of us at the recreation center in Brooklyn for Nover’s gathering watched it on the multitude of TVs while we drank and ate.  Mmmm, chicken tenders.
  • WEC 51: “Aldo vs. Gamburyan”, September 30, 2010 – Yeah, yeah, Jose Aldo is a dominant champ.  The best part of this event was my 2-year-old daughter, who walked into the living room, saw what I was watching, then took a running jump onto me exclaiming, “Dad, let’s wrestle!”
  • WEC 52: “Faber vs. Mizugaki”, November 11, 2010 – This time my daughter waited until I was walking into the kitchen, where she ambushed me with a kick to the shin and a flurry of punches to my thighs.  “Dad, let’s fight!” she said.
  • WEC 45: “Cerrone vs. Ratcliff”, December 19, 2009 – Not a lot of star power on this card, but what made this installment memorable for me was the realization that I can watch an entire event on fast-forward and still get the gist of it.  DVR, that’s what’s up.

MMA in New York Crusade, version 2011

The 2011 crusade for sanctioned MMA in New York State has begun, and one of the men spearheading the movement is Sambo Steve, a Manhattan-based sambo instructor and longtime fixture in the Big Apple scene.  Here's a clip of Sambo Steve in action - - and here's an email he sent around:

"Hi all,
As friends, members, and supports of the American Sambo Association, you have often come to our aid with many projects in the past. Now, I have a VERY CRITICAL favor to ask all of you who love the sport of MMA and want to see MMA legalized in New York State.

Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at Madison Square Garden?
Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at Nassau Coliseum?
Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at the HSBC Arena?
Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at the Blue Cross Arena?
Do you want to see smaller local shows in your town?
For years now, we have sat back and let the lobbyists do our work for us with little result. It is time to admit that pettitions don't work, lobby dollars only go so far, and that the only way our elected officials will act is if we tell them to act...ourselves!

Below are links to letters which I strongly encourage you to download, print out, fill out and mail to your NY State Senator AND Assembly person. THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU DIRECTLY!

If you are a business owner, gym owner, promoter, or just a fan there is a letter for you. Please do not ignore this.
Gym owner's letter:
Business owner's letter:
Promoter's letter:
Fan's Letter:
To find out who your local Senator and Assembly person is and where to mail your letters, visit the following links:
If you are not a New Yorker, but still would like to see MMA legaized in New York, please use these letters as a guide and mail one to Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo. (currently) (in 2011)
Thank you in advance for all your support!
Stephen Koepfer
President, American Sambo Association
Head Coach, New York Combat Sambo
PO Box 5773
Long Island City, NY 11105"