(Most honest post-fight reaction…eva.)
Strong Island native Matt “The Terra” Serra has penned a piece for Newsday appealing to New York legislators to lift the ban on MMA and regulate events in his home state. He makes some of the same arguments we’ve all been making/hearing for years – it brings in money, it isn’t that violent, it’s not as bad as boxing, etc. – but Serra is in the unique position of being able to lead with this very personal appeal to emotion:
Last April, I fought Georges St. Pierre in a rematch of the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title match. Our sport is banned in New York, and this fight was held in Montreal, St. Pierre’s hometown. The sold-out crowd of 21,000 was less than welcoming – everywhere I went that weekend, I heard jeers and boos. When I eventually lost the match, the cheers for my opponent were deafening.
In my eight-year career with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts league, I’ve fought in New Jersey, Connecticut, Las Vegas, Texas and Montreal. But because of New York’s ban, I’ve never competed in my home state.
I’ve never had the excitement of hearing a sold-out crowd at Nassau Coliseum chant my name as I entered the Octagon – our sport’s answer to the boxing ring. I’ve never been able to compete in front of all my friends and family.
Seriously, New York. What is your problem? That nice Matt Serra just wants to be bathed in the warm and unconditional love of an arena full of fight fans. Where is that supposed to happen if not in his own backyard?
Serra also cites the study from Johns Hopkins that found MMA to be no more injury-riddled than boxing (though with fewer brain-damaging knockouts), and extols the virtues of Bruce Lee movies. It’s a well-written argument. But something tells me Bob Reilly isn’t going to be swayed by "Enter the Dragon." Now "Black Belt Jones," I dare Reilly to sit through that and not be moved.