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Tag: MMA in New York

UFC Scores Major Victory in Legal Battle With New York State; Promotion Could Begin Holding Events Under Third-Party Sanctioning


(Is this real life? / Dream-fight poster via NixsonDesign)

A hearing yesterday afternoon related to the UFC’s ongoing lawsuit against the State of New York — which challenges the validity of the state’s 1997 MMA ban on constitutional grounds — ended in the UFC’s greatest victory thus far in its fight to hold events in the Empire State. Jim Genia was on the scene at the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York, and broke the news for Fightline.com:

In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General’s most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz — representing the Attorney General’s office — acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa’s interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there’d be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle…

Notwithstanding whether a settlement is reached, the door is now open for Zuffa — or any other MMA promotion — to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute. Those sanctioning bodies include the World Karate Association (since renamed the World Kickboxing Association, a.k.a. the “WKA”), the Professional Karate Association and the U.S. Judo Association, among others…

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What the Heck Is Going on in New York? MMA’s Legal Gray-Area in the Empire State



(A nice little Sunday at the Underground Combat League. / All photos courtesy of the author.)

 By Jim Genia

The UFC held a show in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1995, and all was well and good. That is, until New York banned professional mixed martial arts in 1997 on the grounds that it was “human cockfighting” and fights to the death suck. Or something like that. But the passage of time has seen the sport evolve, and now MMA is sanctioned almost everywhere in the country — everywhere but New York.

So last year Zuffa filed a lawsuit against the state alleging that the ban violated all sorts of Constitutional rights, and while the suit is currently mired in the muck of the judicial process, and efforts to change the law via the legislature get bogged down year after maddening year, something has changed. Depending on where you live in the state, it’s now possible to take in an MMA event live. There are shows sprouting up on the sovereign territory of Indian Reservations, and amateur MMA competitions are kicking off in ice skating rinks and in armories — all of them happening pretty much unmolested by an athletic commission that went from “search and destroy” mode to laissez-faire in seemingly the blink of an eye. Which begs the question: What the heck is going on in New York?

The short answer is that there’s a lot going in New York. The long answer, however, involves an athletic commission finally admitting that amateur MMA is legal, fights on Indian Land, and an underground fight scene that shows no signs of slowing down.

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Knockout of the Day: Add Another Contender to the ‘Falling Tree’ HOF List

As with the double KO and the “lawn chair” KO, we were the first to discover the “falling tree” KO before it began to spread across the MMA blogosphere faster than the Motaba virus. Today’s case study comes to us from the Mohawk Valley Community College Gym in Utica, NY of all places, at an event dubbed “CNY Battle Ground 5.” According to the ticket purchasing site, the event saw “MMA fighters from around the state square off in the cage,” because as we all know, MMA is kinda sorta legal in New York.

Although the heavy gloves, head gear, and shin pads lead us to believe this was some sort of kickboxing exhibition, the extra gear does make the eight second knockout seem all the more impressive. The man behind the vicious, Cro Copian head kick is Bob Reese, otherwise known the baddest man to ever walk out to a Rihanna song. Come on Bob, throw on some Chris Brown if you want to do some REAL damage.

-J. Jones

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Dana White on MMA in New York: “I Guarantee It’s Going to Happen This Year.”


(Oh, you DID NOT just deny my Facebook friend request, Reilly.)

In an interview given to MMAFightCorner, Dana White didn’t beat around the bush when discussing the possibility of finally legalizing mixed martial arts in New York. If you recall, the UFC recently filed a law suit against New York, claiming that the “Empire State” was in breach of their first amendment rights to peacefully assemble. Specifically, Zuffa lawyers have been attempting to prove that mixed martial arts is a form of entertainment, like any other sport, and therefore cannot be criminalized.

Well, it seems we may have finally reached the mountaintop, so to speak, as the UFC President seems more than confident that 2012 will be the year that New Yorkers near and far will finally be able to sit down and watch MMA from somewhere other than their couches:

We’re so close. It’s going to happen, and I guarantee you it’s going to happen this year. It’s going to depend on when it happens, timing and everything else, but obviously, it would be nice to go in there with, probably, Jon Jones.

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UFC Gets Backing from NY State Senators in Legalization Push Ahead of 2012 Assembly Session Start in Jan.


(Video courtesy of WNY)

New York State Assembly isn’t scheduled to resume until January, but that isn’t stopping politicians in the Empire State from rallying in the meantime for legalizing mixed martial arts when the next session starts.

Several senators and Assembly members have spoken out publicly in support of the sport in recent weeks, which could bring the issue to the forefront when Assembly is back in session in two months.

Buffalo Senator Mark Grisanti, who met with UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta yesterday, says that it’s ridiculous that New York is dragging its feet when it comes to sanctioning the sport that is regulated in all but a handful of states in the U.S. and less than a half dozen Canadian provinces. Grisanti pointed to the economic benefits of having MMA in the state, noting that it could create jobs and inject an influx of cash into the New York economy as one of the big reasons for giving the popular combat sport the nod.

“Being that we’re so close to Toronto and southern Ontario, I would suspect that we would get a lot of that draw from our neighboring country [as well],” Grisanti explained.

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UFC Sues New York for Breach of First Amendment Rights

Zuffa has launched another salvo against the state of New York in it’s continued bid to have mixed martial arts regulated in the Empire State.

This time, the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce has resorted to a lawsuit filed today in New York U.S. district court against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. According to The Wall Street Journal, the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the ban of MMA in New York violates the First Amendment, which states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The portion of the amendment that Zuffa is focusing on is the “freedom of speech” part, which also covers freedom of expression. Because one of the three words in the term “mixed martial arts” is “arts,” Zuffa lawyers will attempt to argue that the sport is a form of artistic expression, and as such, should not be criminalized in the state.

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So Close, But Yet So Far: New York Passes On MMA For Another Year


(An artist’s rendering of how Bob Reilly depicted New York would look if MMA was legalized)

Well, supporters put up a valiant fight, but in the end New York State once again cock-blocked the bill to legalize MMA again for another year.

The sad thing is, that bill S1707A never really had a fighting chance once it hit the Ways & Means Committee, where it would stall as the current Senate’s session ended Monday. Last week the Committee’s chairman, Denny Farrell, D-Manhattan, told Politics on the Hudson that he was “looking at” the bill, but admitted he was not a mixed-martial arts fan.

“I don’t think very much of the sport,” Farrell said. “Next we’ll give them clubs with spikes on the end; that will be good.”

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Damn It! It Looks Like MMA Legalization in NY Isn’t Going to Happen *Again* This Year


(New York State Assembly: where dreams are squashed.)

The man in charge of the Assembly floor in New York, Democrat Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday put the big kabosh on the hopes of MMA supporters who were optimistic that the sport will be made legal in the Empire State this year.

Silver intimated to the New York Daily News that the bill may not even be brought to the Assembly floor for a vote before the current legislative session ends on June 20 because the support isn’t there, which is curious considering votes in the other levels of government have all swung considerably in favor of approving legalization.

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New York Senate Votes 42-18 in Favor of Sanctioning Mixed Martial Arts; State Assembly Vote is Now Last Hurdle to Legalization


(“Reach into my back pocket there and take out that envelope marked, ‘Housewarming gift for Senator Robach.’”)

State senators voted 42-18 today in favor of passing a bill that could lead to mixed martial arts being  sanctioned in New York. The bill will now go to the New York State Assembly where a final vote on the matter will be cast by members of the group that includes opposition stalwart Bob Reilly.

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club


(Oh man. 1:00-1:10 is just too much. Props: ix3623vault)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere. E-mail feedback@cagepotato.com for details on how your site can join the MMA Link Club…

– Manager: “Chael Sonnen’s Career is Far From Over” (5thRoundWelcome to the club, guys!)

– UFC to Announce Formal Intent to Bring Event to New York (MMA Fighting)

– MMA Hot List: Fights Booked, Careers Put on Hold (Versus MMA Beat)

– Watch Nam Phan’s Guide to Judging in MMA (MiddleEasy)

– Jacob Volkmann on Fox News. You Figure Out the Rest. (the all-new MMA-Scraps.com)

– Bellator Signs Top 50 Middleweight Joe Riggs (FightMagazine)

– Dan Henderson In Talks For Title Shot Against Rafael Feijao On March 5 (MMA Convert)

– Jon Jones: I Would Definitely Take a "Right Fight" at Heavyweight (LowKick)

– Chad Griggs Taking on Regional Prospect in Final Strikeforce Grand Prix Reserve Bout (Five Ounces of Pain)

– UFC And Strikeforce Situations Make Heavyweight The Division To Watch In 2011 (SBNation.com/MMA)

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