Thursday, August 28, 2014

The View From Upstate, Part 1 - An Interview With Cory Schafer of the ISKA

NEW YORK


New York is a big state. So big, actually, that to drive from Montauk – the state’s eastern-most point – to Buffalo would require about nine hours and a ton of coffee. The state’s great size is why, when talking to a native New Yorker, the geographical parlance of the conversation will include references to “the city” (i.e., New York City), “out on the island” (i.e., Long Island), and “upstate” – a catchall for anything north of the Big Apple. And a glance at the map will tell you that the area encompassed by the word “upstate” is huge.

In 2012, when the Zuffa vs. New York State lawsuit forced the Attorney General to admit that amateur MMA was legal, that huge area was suddenly awash with aspiring promoters and hastily-erected cages. But who would regulate them? Who would oversee the goings-on in and around the cage, making sure events were staffed by trained officials and guided by codified rules? Not the New York State Athletic Commission – the law banning pro MMA also prevents the Commission from playing a role in amateur versions of the sport. No, for the folks upstate, the void created by the influx of fight shows was filled by a third-party sanctioning organization. Overseeing amateur MMA was, for the most part, handled by Cory Schafer’s International Sport Karate Association (ISKA).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Tidbits From Zuffa vs. New York Lawsuit

NEW YORK


We're definitely at a cool juncture in the Zuffa vs. New York State lawsuit. All the evidence needed to make the respective parties' arguments has been gathered, and for the sake of bolstering each side's motions for summary judgment and rebuttals, a multitude of facts are being revealed. Here's some of the pretty interesting stuff gleaned from the most recent round of filings:

Check Out This Interview With CFFC Honcho Rob Haydak

NEW JERSEY


You know what's awesome? Years ago, before the advent of social media and the need for promotions to maintain an online presence, I had to do all the legwork and rustle up these kinds of interviews. Now they get done for me! Anyway, here's Cage Fury Fighting Championship grand poobah Rob Haydak, talking shop. Watch and gain some insight on one of the Northeast circuit's top organizations.

MMA Platinum Gloves Sizzle Reel

NEW YORK


We're less than two weeks away from the next installment of the MMA Platinum Gloves, which is turning into one of Long Island's preeminent fight shows. I've only been to one of them, and the promotion is on show number six, so for a somewhat more accurate glimpse into what you may expect at their September 6 event, check out the sizzle reel below.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Trouble in New York

NEW YORK


From the Facebook of someone in New York in the know:
NY MMA PROMOTERS!!!!
Supplying bloodwork for Hep B, Hep C and HIV in order to participate in amateur MMA event in NY is pretty much the norm. Problem is, not everyone is requiring bloodwork and that is a sad, stone cold fact. I know of one recent case that will be made public very soon, which I'll be sure to share any links when they become available.
I call for more up to date bloodwork, dated after participation with the shady promoters of the state. In other words... If a fighter's bloodwork IS up to date, but they've fought with a questionable promoter, require new bloodwork.
For the safety of the athletes and the officials, blackball those supporting the troublemakers or require more recent bloodwork.
It is sad that those that are making a conscious effort to be safe, may be putting others in harms way, without any knowledge of it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Next MUSU Is Saturday - What the Hell is Going to Happen?

NEW YORK


The next installment of Manup Standup is on Saturday, and though I've been to a handful of them, the way they've hyped this coming show has me scratching my head and wondering what the hell is going to happen. Seriously, it's usually just some unsanctioned fights with a serious kung fu slant. But videos such as the one posted below are keeping me guessing.

There Was a Fight Show in Brooklyn This Weekend

NEW YORK


There was another installment of Take It To The Top in Brooklyn this weekend. I missed it, but thanks to the wonders of YouTube, you and I can still get a feel for what it was like. Behold! One of the kickboxing bouts on the mixed MMA/kickboxing card!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Whither Thou Goest, Atlantic City

NEW JERSEY


The Revel, which has been hosting UFCs for a while now, will soon be closing its doors, the victim of lack of revenue, the ever-changing tides of legalized gambling and Atlantic City, N.J.'s role as a regional hub for people who like to throw their money away. But what, if anything, does this mean for the strange yet enduring marriage between MMA shows and the casinos there? After all, AC has been hosting such events for about 14 years, and has long been the home for such organizations as Ring of Combat and the Cage Fury Fighting Championship.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, "Atlantic City is betting on sports such as mixed martial arts to help save the city."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Top Team Serra/Longo Prospect Signs With Bellator

BELLATOR


A few months back I was wowed by Jonny Bonilla-Bowman's performance at a Combat at the Capitale and wrote about it. Well, according to former Bellator matchmaker Sam Caplan, the Team Serra/Longo prospect is one of the revamped Scott Coker-run organization's most recent signings.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Latest on the Zuffa vs. New York Lawsuit

NEW YORK


The latest round of filings (i.e., the responses to the recent motions for summary judgment) in the Zuffa vs. New York State lawsuit were filed today, and while I'm still going through them, I just thought I'd post this little gem here. It's from the State's side and it's about how their interpretation of the law in regards to amateur MMA has been "consistent" throughout the years.

Gladius Fights Poster

NEW YORK



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: A Pic With One of the Sport's Top Journos

AWESOME


He may be a West Coaster, but there have been occasions when renowned MMA journalist and trailblazer Josh Gross has come out east. One such instance was for an M-1 Global press conference here in Manhattan back in 2007. Never mind that Monte Cox was there wearing a suit, and Fedor Emelianenko was giving interviews. The highlight of my day was getting a pic with my esteemed peer. RESPECT.

MMAMadhouse Radio Liveblog: Part 4

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  • A lot of talk about how New York State is falling short and how it's inexplicable that the sport isn't regulated.
  • Okay, things have really gone off the rails with a ton of talk about judging, same-day weigh-ins, mandatory title fights and things like that. Stay on point, guys!
  • Hey, the conversation is coming back to relevancy. MMA shows in Indian reservations upstate have happened, with Gladius having done a pro show on one.
  • "I really didn't feel comfortable working with some of the promoters in New York State," says Forrest. 
  • Forrest is going to be working with Gladius - "They do the best job out of everyone."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

MMAMadhouse Radio Liveblog: Part 3

NEW YORK



  • One promoter in Poughkeepsie once told Forrest that his own events were "so safe I don't even need an ambulance."
  • One time, a trained referee Forrest knows went to an unsanctioned show as a spectator, and the officiating was so horrifying that he couldn't help but climb into the cage and take over.
  • Forrest acknowledges that there certainly has been fighters competing in New York State - even upstate - who have fought with HIV and Hepatitis.
  • Cory Schafer, the head honcho of the ISKA comes on as a guest. I interviewed him at length last week, but I've been waiting to hear what Forrest has to say before I posted it. Guess I'll put the interview up tomorrow...
  • Schafer: "The misconception is that regulation is meant to protect the fighters from promoters. It's not. Regulation is meant to protect the fighters from themselves."

MMAMadhouse Radio Liveblog: Part 2

NEW YORK



  • First up is Forrest giving some background on himself, which includes how he hooked up with the ISKA and became their point man in sanctioning amateur MMA in Upstate New York.
  • He admits that he quit his role because it was an all-encompassing, time-consuming endeavor. 
  • What's some of the stuff that goes on at unregulated shows in New York? No blood work, no uniform standards for equipment, lacking of suitable medical care, etc.
  • According to Forrest, there are some promoters who don't use sanctioning bodies who do actually self-regulate pretty well. He names Don Lilly as one of them.
  • On the flipside, there are some sanctioning bodies that absolutely suck.
  • MMA is so young in New York that it's reflected in the quality of competitor. This was hammered home to Forrest when Fighters Source came to town with their national fighters. "For the most part, the bulk of the athletes in New York State are nowhere near the level of the rest of the country."

MMAMadhouse Radio Liveblog: Part 1

NEW YORK


Former ISKA rep Forrest Hobbick is about to go live on MMAMadhouse's radio show to dish on what he's witnessed firsthand in regards to the shadiness of New York amateur MMA promoters. Yes, I'm listening in, and yes, I'm taking notes (which will appear here). So sit down, strap in, sip your latte and get ready to hear some dirt.

Monday, August 18, 2014

MEDIA ALERT: Wednesday's MMAMadhouse Radio Show Is a Must-Listen

NEW YORK


Until recently, Forrest Hobbick was the ISKA's point man when it came to sanctioning amateur MMA events in New York. Well, on Wednesday night at 10pm EST, he'll be on MMAMadhouse's radio show, and he promises to dish on all the shady things he's seen at the various events that go on willy-nilly in Upstate New York.

Since my area of operations is pretty much New York City and Long Island (i.e., downstate), I will most certainly be listening (I even plan on calling in). There are a ton of events going on north of NYC with little to no regulation, events where the promoters have actually banned media from attending because they don't want their shadiness to be made public, so Forrest's insight will be invaluable.

The MUSU Challenge Approaches

NEW YORK


Guys, there are people literally training on rooftops in Harlem in preparation for the next Manup Standup Challenge, which will be held on Saturday, August 30 at a venue out in Queens. CAN YOU DIG IT?

New York Fight Exchange 4 Poster

NEW YORK



Friday, August 15, 2014

Cage Fury Fighting Championship 36 Behind-the-Scenes Video

NEW JERSEY


With the news that New Jersey-based promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championship has had yet another champion called up to the UFC, it is impossible to ignore that they're producing a great product that provides a viable platform for top local talent. So let's take a quick behind-the-scenes look at one of their recent shows - CFFC 36 - and see how the figurative sausage gets made.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Asylum Fight League 46 Poster

NEW JERSEY



Throwback Thursday: My Daughter Meets Everyone

AWESOME


My daughter "Emmy" is six now, but I've never been shy about bringing her around my job and letting her meet everyone. Here, then, are pics of her at various ages, meeting the likes of Peter Storm, Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Jeff Blatnick, Nick Lembo, photographer Zack Lynch, Mike Constantino, and Northeast fighter Chris Schlesinger.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cage Wars 27 Poster

NEW YORK



Sherdog Examines MMA in New York

NEW YORK


Sherdog has turned its lens toward the MMA scene in New York, and the first part of their ongoing series of articles on the subject examines a bit of what's been going on with the legislative process and the hold-up in the Assembly. The broad strokes are nothing you have seen before, but Sherdog digs a little deeper and gets some decent quotes. 

For instance, there's this gem from UFC COO Ike Lawrence Epstein, who talks about his interactions with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Trouble Brewing in MMA's Wild West?

NEW YORK


Someone very much attuned to the amateur MMA scene in New York State - and clearly someone very fed up with what they've seen firsthand - posted this on their Facebook today. Take from it what you will.

Cage Fury Fighting Championship Creates Another Star

NEW JERSEY


One of the most important roles a regional promotion plays is in the creation of stars, and this past weekend, Cage Fury Fighting Championship did their part perfectly. Watch the video below of lightweight stud Paul Felder in action. Then throw CFFC some respect for being the platform that these local heroes can do their thing upon.

TNT Fight Series Poster

NEW YORK



Saturday, August 9, 2014

And The Answer to Yesterday's Million Dollar Question Is...

NEW YORK


Yesterday I came across the above poster advertising two pro fighters on an amateur MMA card in Upstate New York. I reached out to the promoter, and this is the response I got this morning:

CFFC 38 Primer: Jay Isip Is a Legend

NEW JERSEY


Gather 'round kids and I'll tell you the story of Jerome "Jay" Isip, one of the Northeast MMA scene's pioneers and a dude who defined the term "nonstop, crazy action" for generations of fighters to come.

Like many of his contemporaries, Jay was forged in the seminal crucible of combat known as BAMA Fight Night, where he'd overwhelm opponents by doing about 20 things for every one thing they did. If you picture in your mind The Tasmanian Devil (but with well-coiffed hair), then you've got a snapshot of Jay.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It Will Be Great When the New York State Athletic Commission Regulates MMA...

NEW YORK


In theory at least, it should be a good thing when the New York State Athletic Commission starts regulating and overseeing mixed martial arts. After all, they handle boxing, and they do stuff like this.

Why Is This New York MMA Show Advertising Pro Fighters?

NEW YORK


Oh this? It's just a poster for an amateur MMA/boxing card slated for tomorrow night in a town near Albany, N.Y., and pictured are two pro fighters.

Granted, the poster is a month old, and according to Mervin Rodriquez's Facebook he's fighting at the next Ring of Combat (worth noting: I know Mervin - he's a very cool dude). But it made me curious. I've since messaged the promoter about this. Hopefully, he gets back to me.

Muay Thai Challenge 25 Poster

NEW YORK



ICYMI, Here's the Last Gladius Fights

NEW YORK


Do you remember what life was like before YouTube? I do, because it involved me driving to countless MMA shows just so I could report on what happened. But that's all changed now thanks to advances in technology and the power of the Internet, so instead of me trekking on up to Liverpool, N.Y. (and I literally have no idea where exactly that could be) to see Gladius Fights last weekend, you and I both can kick back, relax, and watch the event a few days later from the comfort of our own homes. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Fedor in New York City

AWESOME


 ...And sometimes Fedor Emelianenko would just drop by to say "hello" and borrow a cup of sugar for his borscht...

Fun Facts Gleaned From the Zuffa vs. New York Lawsuit

NEW YORK


The latest round of documents filed in the Zuffa vs. New York State lawsuit has yielded a treasure trove of heretofore unknown facts, which is to be expected, since we're now past the discovery phase and arguments have been firmed up by the testimony put forth in the various depositions. So let's jump right in to these facts, shall we?

Throwback Thursday: Remember When These Guys Fought?

AWESOME


I'll give you a clue: it was a long time ago.

(Also, you can just look at the credential hanging around Robbie's neck.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bad Intentions Poster

NEW YORK



Watch the Latest East Coast MMA Show Featuring an Old Chute Boxe Trainer

NEW YORK


I bet you didn't know that we have a former coach from the revered Chute Boxe school teaching at a spot out in Howard Beach, Queens, did you? Well we do, and his name is Grand Master Edmar dos Santos. Alongside Manny Martinez of Sadistic Athletics, Dos Santos was a guest on last night's East Coast MMA Show last night, and the old school Brazilian trainer regaled us with tales of what it was like at the Curitiba academy that spawned the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva and the Rua brothers.

Definitely check it out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cage Fury Fighting Championships Highlight Reel

NEW JERSEY


Another weekend without any UFC action approaches, but Saturday night won't be without its fistic delights. In Atlantic City, N.J., the Cage Fury Fighting Championships will be having its thirty-eighth installment, and, well, CFFCs are always a good time.

Here's a look at a highlight reel from CFFC 35.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

MMAPayout's Perspective on the Latest in the Zuffa vs. New York Case

NEW YORK


MMAPayout has cast a discerning eye towards the current round of filings in the Zuffa vs. New York lawsuit, and their perspective as to the possible outcomes is worth considering. Here's the gist of it:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New York State Changes Legal Tactic in Lawsuit, Goes the Science Fiction Route

NEW YORK


The latest - and hopefully final - round of motions in the Zuffa vs. New York lawsuit has finally dropped, and it appears the State has changed their legal tactics to incorporate some serious science fiction.

In dueling motions for summary judgment (which, in layman's terms, are motions asking the judge to rule on the case right now), attorneys for Zuffa (et al.) argue that the State has a long history of being confused about how to interpret the "combative sports" law and what it bans.

Friday, August 1, 2014

ICYMI, Here's Battle at the Aviator in its Entirety

NEW YORK


In case you missed it (and I most certainly did), here's a video of the June 28 debut of Battle at the Aviator, which took place at a venue in a part of Brooklyn so far away it's practically in Delaware. Things to keep in mind while watching this vid: it's their first event, and on that particular night there was a UFC on TV and MMA events on Long Island and in North Jersey.

Muay Thai Challenge 24 Poster

NEW YORK