ITS TIME FOR NEW YORK TO SANCTION MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

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ITS TIME FOR NEW YORK TO SANCTION MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Post  The Cody on Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:30 am

I'M sure there are a lot of pressing issues to address when the New York legislative session begins Wednesday, but somewhere on the to-do list should be the legalization of professional mixed martial arts in the Empire State.

Bill No. S02858 will be up for a vote by the Committee of Tourism, Arts and Sports Development, where it died last year because of concerns the sport was too brutal.

After watching MMA closely for the past year, I agree that it can be brutal. Elbows and knees to the head are some of the tactics used to render an opponent unconscious. But the fighters who engage in the sport are well trained, and so are the referees and medical personnel that govern the sport in states such as Nevada and New Jersey, where mixed martial arts is flourishing.

There has never been a death in the Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) since Zuffa, LLC acquired it in 2001. The first thing the UFC did was adopt the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts developed by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. That essentially eliminated the "human cockfighting" image that was promoted in the mid-1990s. In New Jersey and Nevada it is sanctioned as closely as boxing.

"From the health and safety aspects, we're quite pleased," said Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which has regulated MMA for seven years. "The health and safety record of mixed martial arts, not just in this state, but other states is very good compared to other combat sports, not just boxing, but football, kickboxing and other things."

The UFC, which has been leading the initiative to get MMA sanctioned in New York, was over-confident last year, thinking approval by the 2008 Legislature was a done deal. To avoid another disappointment, the UFC has spent the last year trying to educate those in decision-making positions about the sport: its history, its rules, the medical requirements and the athletes involved.

It held a roundtable discussion with members of the Committee of Tourism, Arts and Sports Development in November, and commissioned an independent economic impact study that showed a UFC event in New York would generate $11.5 million in much-needed revenue for the city.

Of the 44 states that have athletic commissions, 36 regulate MMA. The New York State Athletic Commission is one of the most thorough and meticulous commissions in the country. It would be just as diligent in regulating MMA, which chairman Melvina Lathan supports.

Furthermore, some of the best MMA fighters come out of New York. Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra owns two jiu-jitsu academies on Long Island. Matt Hamill of Utica is one of the most inspirational athletes in sports, overcoming deafness to win two Division III wrestling titles and capture an exciting victory at UFC 92 last weekend in Las Vegas. It's ridiculous that stars of the Empire State cannot compete in their home state.

If the bill is approved and signed by Gov. Patterson, the UFC said it will hold an event at Madison Square Garden in late 2009.
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Re: ITS TIME FOR NEW YORK TO SANCTION MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Post  DFDmike on Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:09 am

MMA discussion *cough*
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Re: ITS TIME FOR NEW YORK TO SANCTION MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Post  Mortis on Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:54 pm

DFDmike wrote:MMA discussion *cough*

Hehe.. it's being moved there now. Smile
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