Sunday, February 6, 2011

MMA founding father Fred Ettish endorses coalition!


To whom it may concern,

Please consider this letter of support in the cause for legalizing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the State of New York.

Allow me first give you a brief background on myself.  My name is Fred Ettish, I am 55 years old, and have been involved in the martial arts since 1969.  I became directly involved in Mixed Martial Arts in March of 1994 as a participant in the Ultimate Fighting Championship 2 at that time.  Since then, I have continued my pursuit of the many benefits and blessings that the martial arts have to offer, including the sport of MMA.  I have sought out and trained with many of the leading practitioners of the sport; coached, trained, cornered, and mentored fighters; refereed, judged, and commentated for several promotions; and remained an avid fan and supporter throughout the growth and evolution of MMA.

I began in the sport of MMA when it was derided as "human cockfighting", "barbaric", "savage", etc., and when people still thought that death in a MMA (then "no holds barred/NHB") match was quite likely.  All of those things have been proven false over the years.  Everything starts from something, and I will grant you that at it's inception in this country, MMA/NHB was very raw, unrefined, and unencumbered by more than just a few rules.  There were no rounds, no gloves, no divisions by weight class, etc.  From that the sport has morphed into a much more refined, athletic combat sport.  Although I do not have quantifiable data immediately at hand, I believe that there are less injuries, especially serious injuries, and deaths in our sport than in most any other.  That is due to the safeguards that have been put into place, and the realities of how MMA is practiced.  

If one takes the time to look closely at MMA on it's elite level, the skill, dedication, fortitude, athletic excellence, and demeanor of the the best of the best is truly amazing.  To rise to the top, one has to have technical excellence in striking arts such as Boxing, Thai Boxing, Karate, etc., grappling arts such as Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Judo, or any other related arts.  The physical conditioning required is second to none.  One needs physical strength, muscle endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, explosive power, and incredible stamina in all areas at the same time.  All of these skills and attributes have to be seamlessly molded together in an intense, fast - paced, and rapidly changing environment.  

Another much overlooked attribute of MMA is what it does for the practitioner's internal qualities.  The most important battle is to not only overcome the challenges your opponent offers physically, but to overcome the fears and obstacles of ones' self.   Incredible stress, fear, anxiety, and adversity must be faced and defeated. He/she must make instantaneous decisions and reactions under some of the most trying and challenging of situations.  I do not like to use the term "warrior", as overuse cheapens such a magnificent title, but in many cases these combat athletes approach warriorhood.  A warrior is not just a fighter, but one who fights with honor, respect, dignity and integrity to him/herself, the opponent, their schools, their teachers, their families, the fans, and society.  Now I will readily admit that there are cases where we fall short, but everyone in every walk of life does.  In MMA you will find people who strive to uphold those principles and represent themselves in these ways as much as possible.

I truly hope that you will strongly consider adding your great state to the long list of those who have legalized Mixed Martial Arts, form a qualified commission from people knowledgeable of the sport to regulate and monitor it, and give your citizens the opportunity to enjoy our great sport as practitioners and fans.

Thank you for any consideration.

Respectfully Submitted,

Fred Ettish
N. Kansas City, MO 

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