Wednesday, November 16, 2016

UFC 205, And The Evidence of Things Unseen


On November 2, 2013, Dagestani boxer Magomed Abdulsalamov fought before a cheering crowd at Madison Square Garden. He fought his heart out, fought to the final bell, fought until his brain was bleeding. But the New York State Athletic Commission – tasked to protect him and every other professional pugilist who laces up the gloves in the state – ignored his plight. Then came the coma and the stroke, the $100 million lawsuit and the investigation by the Inspector General. Ask my eight-year-old daughter about the “Butterfly Effect” and she’ll spin a yarn about time travel, and how one event can send out ripples that irrevocably change the future. On Saturday, November 12, 2016, the UFC came to Madison Square Garden for the first time, came to New York for the first time since the 1997 ban on pro mixed martial arts. They had to pay over $40,000 to insure the fighters, an amount heretofore unheard of in combat sports, and they had to work with an athletic commission that had never before sanctioned fights in an octagon-shaped cage.

Abdulsalamov never saw that butterfly land on him on that night three years ago. But it did. And New York would never be the same.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

UFC 205: Press Life


UFC 205 Predictions by CV Sports


I'm all about spreading the love, so here's something CV Sports sent me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Khabib Nurmagomedov Talks Injured Boxer Abdulsalamov and Athletic Commission


Turns out UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov grew up with Russian boxer Magomed Abdulsalamov, who suffered brain damage a couple years ago after a bout at Madison Square Garden that saw the New York State Athletic Commission drop the ball in giving him postfight care. Abdulsalamov's plight, and the NYSAC's inaction, are the reason why there's a $1 million brain injury insurance coverage requirement in New York.

A Look Inside the UFC 205 Media Day Setup


UFC 205 media day. Where men are men and girls are a welcome relief.

Some Irish Dude...


Wonderboy Practicing His Katas


Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk Hitting the Mitts


Champ Eddie Alvarez Showing the Fans Some Love


The Most Beautiful Thing In The World


Monday, November 7, 2016

Check Out This Sweet UFC 205 Fanzine


Champions Fanzine. That's what's up. Oh, and look who wrote the first story in it...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Definitive UFC 205 in NYC Fight Week Itinerary


The UFC in New York City! UFC 205, breaking ground at Madison Square Garden! Dogs and cats, living together - Mass hysteria! Yes, folks, the very thing we've been waiting 20 years for is finally happening, and just like in days of yore when the circus came to town, the week leading up to this momentous, magnificent occasion will be jam-packed with activities and gatherings guaranteed to whet the appetite of any - and every - fight fan. So of course, as I am wont to do, I've compiled a list of the daily goings-on leading up to the epic UFC at MSG itself.

Not listed are the afterparties - and there will surely be plenty of them - but I'm an old, boring man who will be seeking the comforts of his bed after a post-UFC 205 press conference that likely won't end until 3am, so whatevs. Also not listed: all the fighter-led seminars at local gyms on Monday, Nov. 14, and there are a few of those.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's September 1 - The Following Things Are Now Illegal in New York


September 1 is upon us, and with it comes the dawn of a new age in New York combative sports. That's right, folks, the legislative bill Governor Andrew Cuomo signed back in April - you remember, the one lifting the 1997 ban on professional MMA bouts - officially takes effect today. So what does that mean?

Obviously, it means there will soon be UFC events at Madison Square Garden (and at the Times Union Center in Albany), as well as WSOFs, ROCs, CFFCs and others making at least one or two appearances in the Empire State. It also means a lot of continued fretting about the new million-dollar brain injury insurance policy requirement, and lamenting by the boxing industry. But perhaps most important, it means there are a bunch of things suddenly made illegal by the new law.

Because I'm all about keeping my beloved New York brethren informed, I've made a list of things that will violate either the law or the brand-spanking new rules and regulations the New York State Athletic Commission voted into existence just yesterday. Do these things at your peril!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Columbia University Symposium on MMA in New York Tomorrow Night


We're forging into the great unknown with the new Combative Sports Law lifting the ban on pro MMA and the New York State Athletic Commission in upheaval. What does the future hold? Sure, the UFC and the World Series of Fighting are coming to the Big Apple, but what about the regional-level promotions? And what of the multitude of amateur shows?

These questions - plus plenty more - will be tackled tomorrow night at a symposium at Columbia University. The details are here, but the gist of it is that I'm moderating this discussion, and the panel includes the UFC's hired lobbying gun David Weinraub, former NYSAC executive director David Berlin, and a bunch of other people with keen insight on MMA in New York.

Come on by. Don't be shy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Five Reasons Why You Should Care About Aggressive Combat Championships 15


Tonight's going to be a busy night in New York City, and a big part of that flurry of activity is because of Aggressive Combat Championships 15, which will take over the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadows Park. Why should you care about this event? Well, I've got five good reasons!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Don't Fear New York's New MMA Law, Only Fear Its Interpretation


As written, the New Combative Sports Law provides all the tools to curb dangerous, unsanctioned fighting events, as well as allow combative sports to flourish in the state. That does, of course, mean drastic change for a scene that has grown dramatically in recent years, and the prospect of change has many New Yorkers afraid. Will amateur MMA, kickboxing and martial arts die? Will the UFC be the only organization able to afford the million-dollar insurance policy required for a pro event? Is boxing doomed? These are all valid questions, but they have nothing to do with the new law and everything to do with the agencies tasked with enforcing it. Really, the only concern anyone should have right now is how the statute will be interpreted by the New York Department of State and Athletic Commission.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Breakdown of What the New Combative Sports Law Will Require


The Assembly finally did their part, and we'll soon have a brand-spanking new Combative Sports Law on the books that will radically change the landscape here in New York. But even though the MMA Bill is readily available online, confusion still reigns as to what those changes will be (after all, who besides me likes reading dry legislative mumbojumbo? Answer: Probably no one.). So to help provide some clarity, I've put together a table of the impending requirements under the new law.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hell Yeah, Mofos


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Statement From Assemblyman Dean Murray

A statement from Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C,I-East Patchogue)

“Assembly Bill 2604-C, which would legalize professional mixed martial arts in New York State, passed the Tourism, Parks, and Sports Development committee today by a vote of 15-5 and then passed the Codes Committee by a 16-5 vote. The bill is now on its way to Ways and Means.

“As the ranking Minority member on Tourism, Parks and Sports Development, I’m excited that the new Speaker has finally allowed this bill to move forward. The Senate has now passed this bill for seven straight years. I'm looking forward to having the bill go to the floor and getting past its greatest hurdle, the Assembly, so it can be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.”

Monday, March 21, 2016

What to Expect From Tomorrow's Assembly Proceedings Re: The MMA Bill


This afternoon the Assembly Speaker's communication director tweeted the following:
Yeah, you read that right. The MMA Bill is passing either tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday. That's huge, as it means the MMA landscape in New York is about to undergo some drastic change - most definitely for the better.

So what exactly is going to happen tomorrow? Here's a breakdown in case you want to follow along.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Observations From My Couch: Cage Fury Fighting Championships 57


(March 19, Philadelphia, P.A.) The long-running Northeast promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championships returned to Philadelphia, and with it came all the usual top-level and talent and thrills you've come to expect from the CFFC brand. Two flyweight titles were up for grabs - one for females and one for males - while veterans and rising stars alike battled it out on the undercard. Highlights on the night included:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The New York MMA Bill Will Pass Next Week


The New York State Assembly will take up the MMA Bill as early as Monday, and given that amount of support the bill has in the Democratic Conference and on the floor, passage is practically assured.

That's right, folks. Professional MMA will soon be legalized in the last place in all of North America that's kept it illegal.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

What Will Happen After the New York MMA Bill Passes, Part 2: Amateur MMA


When the State Attorney General's Office admitted that the law banning professional combative sports didn't apply to amateur fights, the floodgates were cast open, and New York was suddenly filled with would-be Dana Whites organizing bouts in cages. Some shows were relatively safe affairs, with medical personnel present and trained officials and many of the other trappings of an event held in jurisdictions with state sanctioning. Many more shows were not so safe, with every possible corner cut and fighters literally risking their lives for nothing. But the common denominator shared by all was that, under the 1997 Combative Sports Law, the Athletic Commission could regulate none of them.

Thanks to the MMA Bill soon becoming law, that will all change. Drastically.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Will Happen After the New York MMA Bill Passes, Part 1: The Timing


History has been most unkind to proponents of sanctioned mixed martial arts in New York, but the future glimpsed within the shifting sands of the hourglass is more positive than ever. So let's talk about what will happen once the MMA Bill passes and the changes it will bring - specifically, the timing of it all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

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


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


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


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


UFC Newark Open Workouts: Josh Barnett Attacked by Luchador


UFC Newark Open Workouts: Rumble Hitting the Pads


Monday, January 25, 2016

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


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


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:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why Governor Cuomo Supporting MMA Is a Big Deal


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


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Statement From UFC on New York Governor Supporting MMA


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


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


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.