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Crazy Enough to Be True: Ten Wild MMA Predictions For 2011

Dana White Brock Lesnar Fertitta Fertittas UFC
("…three…two…one…Happy New Year! Damn, take it again, Brock had another stroke.")

By contributor Jason Moles

2010 is in the books, and MMA fans and fighters alike have endured tremendous highs and lows. Who would have guessed that The Last EmperorBrock Lesnar, BJ Penn and the WEC would all collapse this year? Who could imagine that Chael Sonnen would accuse Lance Armstrong of giving himself cancer, then test positive for a banned substance? Ironic? You bet. But enough about last year — a new decade is upon us. Here are ten predicitions that will sound ridiculous until they actually happen in 2011…

1. MMA will be sanctioned in New York.
While watching WEC bid adieu, I couldn’t help but notice the commercials for the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) at MSG (Madison Square Garden). Pro bull riding averages 1 to 2 deaths per year — that’s not including amateurs, sometimes children, participating at the county fair. Regardless of what Bob Reilly has to say, this is a no-brainer that only the likes of the M-1 management team could foul up. MMA will be sanctioned in New York in ’11, even if we have to blackmail a senator to make it happen.

2. GSP will relinquish his Welterweight title to change weight classes.
Jake Shields blah, blah, blah — Georges St. Pierre is indestructible and will wipe the floor with him, or at least dry hump him to death. With his ‘le-gacy’ secured, he can bump weight classes and test the waters in the process in becoming the best mixed martial artist from Canada with an extra ‘s’ in his name OF ALL TIME.

3. Dana White will coin a new phrase. 
"You want to be a %^&@$#! fighter?" and "Never leave it in the hands of the judges." will be replaced by something catchy like "Don’t cross the boss." Oh, wait, that one’s already taken. How about "Go big or go home," or "Suns out, guns out"? I never said it would be original — just catchy.


UFC 121 Press Conference Notes: Kampmann Not Guaranteed Title Shot if He Beats Shields and There is Movement in MMA in New York

(They were polar opposites with hearts of gold and a weakness for terrible chest tattoos.)

If you didn’t catch today’s UFC 121 press conference, you didn’t miss a whole hell of a lot more than the usual answers to the usual questions, but there were a few interesting tidbits revealed by UFC president Dana White including that he will be travelling to New York tomorrow to discuss some movement in the sanctioning of MMA in the hold-out state and the fact that he considered giving Jake Shields a title shot in his first UFC fight based on his record and accomplishments outside the Octagon.

Reflecting off of another, "Do you see MMA in the Olympics in the future?" question he was lobbed at the presser, White explained that things in New York are "moving faster than [he] could have imagined" and that he will be meeting with some unnamed individuals in that regard on Thursday.


Guy Who Originally Banned MMA in New York Now Cool With It

George Pataki New York Governor MMA
("Helen, I need you to track down this ‘Nate Diaz‘ fellow. I believe this young man may have some interesting ideas on how to address the state’s growing hater problem.")

On Monday, we gleefully high-fived each other at the news that New York Governor David Paterson was coming out publicly in favor of MMA regulation in the Empire State. But new support is coming from a surprising — and just as significant — source. Via the New York Daily News:

ALBANY – Former Gov. George Pataki, who once called ultimate fighting barbaric and had it banned in 2001 in New York, now supports its legalization.
"With more rigorous oversight, training and medical requirements – mixed martial arts has made considerable strides to ensure the safety of participants," said Pataki spokesman David Catalfamo.
"With these measures in mind, Gov. Pataki would be supportive of allowing the sport in New York in today," he told the Daily News.

Kickass. We now have two governors on our side, while the opposition’s most prominent voice in New York is still crackpot Assemblyman Bob Reilly, aided by a few ill-informed, progress-resisting editorial columnists who still refer to mixed martial arts as "ultimate fighting" (no offense to the guy who wrote the above article). Pataki’s change-of-heart will be an incredibly valuable talking point in the battle to come: If the dude who banned MMA can inform himself on the sport’s progress over the last ten years and change his opinion, those opposition voices should be able to do the same.


Report: New York Governor to Endorse MMA Legalization in Budget Proposal This Month

(An open mind, and the ability to pull tall chicks. Gotta love this dude.)


ALBANY – Gov. Paterson is set to propose legalizing ultimate fighting and its controversial steel-cage matches to help wrestle the state’s fiscal woes.
Madison Square Garden and upstate venues have supported the idea in hopes of hosting its events. An Ultimate Fighting Championship league match scheduled for Newark in March sold out last week.
Paterson, who has said the state faces a deficit of up to $9 billion, is looking for ways to generate revenue without raising taxes or borrowing and will reveal his proposal in his 2009-10 budget plan Jan. 19, sources told the Daily News.

‘Legalize MMA’ — The Movie

(Props: EckoMMA)

As longtime supporters of MMA regulation in New York, we’re thrilled that 2010 could finally be the year the sport loses its outlaw status in the Empire State. But there’s a long way to go before we can start celebrating. In this new short film from Bobby Razak and Marc Ecko, a host of fighters and other MMA personalities discuss the legalization efforts and challenges that they’ve faced in New York, as well as in Ontario, Canada. "Legalize MMA" highlights the inherent irony of the MMA regulation struggle in NY — that such a famous fight town, which is progressive on so many other issues, continues to marginalize the most modern and pure form of combat sports. Unfortunately, many of New York’s athletic commission officials remain the least educated about MMA as it exists today, clinging instead to outdated stereotypes of the sport’s brutality. "Madison Square Garden is a validator of great, iconic sports and athletes," Ecko says. For him, as well as interviewees like Frank Shamrock and reporter Ariel Helwani, the building stands as a symbol of the mainstream acceptance that MMA is closing in on, but hasn’t quite captured yet. Part two of the film is after the jump.


The Many Fallacies of Bob Reilly

Bob Reilly
(Check the sweater/sport coat combo.  If Cliff Huxtable were white, humorless, and utterly incapable of reason, he’d be this man.)

Tomorrow, June 3, is a big day for those of us who have been following the cause of MMA in New York State, because the State Assembly’s Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee is set to vote on whether to move forward with allowing MMA to be regulated.  The most vocal opponent of our beloved sport is, of course, Assemblyman Bob Reilly.  We’ve attempted to understand the man’s arguments and tried to get him to explain his opposition in a semi-coherent fashion, and all we’ve come away with is a headache and disdain for self-righteous track coaches everywhere. 

But as the vote draws near and Reilly’s moment in the national spotlight comes to a close, it seems as if his reasoning is getting somehow shakier, if you can believe it.  With that in mind, it seems only fitting to recap some of Reilly’s favorite logically unsound arguments, just so we know what we’re up against tomorrow.


Is Bob Reilly a Liar, On Top Of Everything Else?

Bob Reilly NY assemblyman
(When this charming bastard speaks to a group of women, that sound you hear after he’s done ain’t nothing but panties dropping.)

Our old friend Bob Reilly is back in the MMA news.  This time it isn’t just for his completely nonsensical reasoning for opposing MMA regulation in New York State, but because of untruths he’s been telling about union campaign contributions.  MMA Payout picked up on Reilly’s assertion in this USA Today story that he doesn’t know, nor did he ever receive campaign contributions from UNITE HERE, the union that’s beefing with the Fertitta-owned Station Casinos in Las Vegas and which may be partially behind the attempt to block the UFC in New York.  Trouble is, there are at least $5,500 in documented campaign contributions from UNITE HERE to Reilly.