Monday, August 29, 2011

Raissman's Ranting. By Michael Steczkowski

This editorial by Michael Steczkowski of the Darce Side Radio is in response to Bob Raissman's artcle "Blood Money"* from Yesterday's Daily News

I usually try not to read anything a mainstream journalist like Bob Raissman writes, because  he is beyond irritating and often annoying.  However, I still found myself uncontrollably drawn to his column on Sunday just to see how much I disagreed with him.  I usually read his articles, mumble a few choice words on my opinion of him, then move on.
Yesterday Raissman decided to talk about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and I almost spit out some of the delicious Captain Lawrence Pale Ale I was drinking.  Yes I was having a beer early on Sunday.  No big deal right? But, if you were a star athlete in Mr. Raissman's eyes, you’d be a heathen.  That’s the kind of vibe you get from him on a consistent basis.
Mr. Raissmans take on MMA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) recent TV deal with FOX is much like like any movie critic's review of a horror movie; always one star or less, and horrible.  As a horror movie fan, I often get the vibe that the movies are not watched and the reviews are just mailed in.  Reviews are passed off as acceptable because a lot of people who aren’t fans think the films are gory, campy crap.  Same problem lies in the public perception of MMA!  Today Mr. Raissman was the horror film reviewer, he gave a bad one, and he clearly doesn’t watch the sport.
“Blood Money” was the title of Sunday’s gem of an article.  Raissman is appalled at the idea of the UFC being promoted during Major League Baseball (MLB) telecasts on FOX, especially if it’s during the playoffs.  Here is a direct quote:

“Still, going full throttle promoting the blood and guts, the punching and crunching of UFC is different.  The graphic nature of this type of promotion might upset suits inside baseballs establishment.”
Not only are we back to reading about “blood and guts” but, now we are subjected to a new mis-characterization of “punching and crunching.”  Did Raissman come up with that on his own, or did he steal that from Walt Frazier? (for  fellow Knicks fans).  He also eluded to Dana White's suggestion that we need to educate the masses about MMA:
In order to "educate the masses" the violence of UFC must be presented to paint an accurate picture of what fans can expect to see. It's a major selling point.
Raissman then followed up with the ultimate kicker:

“Does the MLB commissioner really want violent UFC spots running between innings?”
Let me guess, this could lead to kids who see MMA on FOX getting into fights because they are trying to emulate the athletes?  Entirely possible if FOX does "mix baseball with blood,"  Raissman suggests. Everyone loves to have something or someone to blame instead of looking at themselves, after all, we do live in the land of the scapegoat.

Raissman clearly needs to educate himself on the sport of MMA.  To write a column about a sport without any knowledge of it is completely irresponsible.  It lacks credibility and validity.  If you don’t know about something, you research it, learn about it, and gain knowledge of the subject.  This is the intelligence behind journalistic standards.  But, in this case Raissman lacks both. He’d rather attack the sport we know and love with the same old negative rhetoric. 
I said on my show last week that the UFC’s deal with FOX might not sway the New York vote right away, but it is undoubtedly another bullet in the chamber to fight with.  I know, I know...I should use a less violent example  (sorry couldn’t resist).  The more people who see it, especially on a major network, the increased chance it will be recognized. 
Lets hope Dana White and the UFC “educate the masses” this fall when the UFC comes to FOX.  Lets get pumped up for promos being seen between innings of playoff baseball games.  I hate those football robots on Sunday NFL broadcasts, but if you throw some shorts on them and make them MMA Boots I will jump for joy!  Let's hope we see the cameras point out George St. Pierre or Cain Velasquez sitting in the stands of a big game, or have the opportunity to hear Dana White, or maybe Joe Rogan or Frankie Edgar talking with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during a telecast!  FOX has always had a reputation for having balls.  They didn’t spend all that money to not promote the UFC. 
We can’t stop articles like the one that just came out, but we can keep doing what we’ve been doing and that is supporting MMA and New York MMA!  I firmly believe that come the fall MMA will finally start to be seen on the same level as NFL, MLB, NBA, and the NHL.  Some of the greatest athletes in the sport will start to be seen in a different light and taken more seriously.  The real “blood and guts” reputation will be seen as well.  The “blood and guts” and sweat and tears of the fighters, trainers, managers, promoters, writers and supporters of MMA and New York MMA!
Then the naysayers will have nothing to stand behind.

Michael Steczkowski, Co-Host of Darce Side Radio 

* The article was titled "Blood Money" in the print version of Sunday's Daily News.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Get Cuomo on Board for NY MMA Now!

Hi all,

Now is the time to put the pressure on folks. We may not have succeeded in getting the professional sport of Mixed Martial Arts legalized this year, but that does not mean the fight is over. In fact, the fight is far from over. Now is the time to keep fighting! Don't wait till January, 2012 to start all over again. We have had monumental support and movement this year. The grass roots support for Mixed Martial Arts has blossomed in New York this year. We must keep the ball rolling - NOW!

It is in my opinion (and that of many others) that it is imperative to get Governor Cuomo's public support on this issue. Would Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Farrell (Ways and Means Committee Chairman) block this legislation if the Governor publicly spoke in favor of Mixed Martial Arts? I think not.

The Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY has worked very closely with many legislators up in Albany. Perhaps the most passionate and motivated has been Assemblyman Dean Murray of Long Island.  Assemblyman Murray, like myself and many others, believes we must get Cuomo on board before 2012. It has been suggested that were the bill to get to Cuomo's desk, he would sign it into law. Now is the time to put the pressure on Cuomo to speak out. He must take a public position on this issue. Let's not let this issue fade from the minds of our legislators.

Assemblyman Murray has written a pettition to Governor Cuomo. Now it is time for all the members and followers of the Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY to act!


Download the petition, print it out, and return it to Assemblyman Murray. It is that simple. Let's get thousands of names on Cuomo's desk by January...or sooner!


Mail the signed petition to:

Assemblyman Dean Murray
1735 North Ocean Ave
Suite A
Medford, N.Y. 11763

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Big Thanks to Klutch!

Klutch Wear has been an active member of the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York and an example of what a local business can do to help the cause!

They started by sponsoring the New York MMA Documentary last May at the Bronx Week Film Festival by giving away free shirts to ticket buyers. Then, they included the NY MMA NOW logo on their signage at the Jones Beach store, where they are selling shirts for the summer. They continued to help by giving away a NY MMA fact sheet to each customer with every purchase of a Klutch Wear shirt. But, that has not been enough for them...

Now, on their new re-designed website, they have included an entire "Legalize MMA in NY" page!

These guys walk the walk. They don't just talk about supporting MMA in NY, the go out and do it!

Everyone please check out their new website and check out the new "Legalize MMA in NY" t-shirts they have up for grabs!

Thanks to Klutch and all their support of NY MMA!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Coalition in Black Belt Magazine

Not sure if any of you saw this, but the August, 2011 issue of Black Belt addressed the issue Mixed Martial Arts in New York. I was glancing over the newsstand checking out the cover stories on Black Belt and other magazines. I was actually searching for an article on Fedor Emilianenko from the previous month's issue of Black Belt. But what I saw on the cover of August's issue was the headline: "Will MMA Ever Be Legal in New York?"

The Article, titled "The Chosen One" by Mark Jacobs, discusses the struggles we have had getting Mixed Martial Arts into New York and ponders the possible weight of New York based UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones' influence on the issue.

In the article, Mr. Jacobs took time to note The Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY and our rally earlier this year in front of Assembly Speak Sheldon Silver's office (though you got some of the timeline wrong Mark)

I just wanted to say thanks to Mark for the mention and note to all our readers that this issue is not dead and our Coalition's reach and voice is expanding. Don't give up!

To read Mark Jacob's complete article, pick up the August, 2011 issue of Black Belt Magazine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Astoria Beer Garden to Screen New York Mixed Martial Arts this Saturday

By Peter Lampasona of US Combat Sports

This Saturday in Astoria, New York, the famous Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden will be hosting two free screening of the documentary New York Mixed Martial Arts. The film is the feature-length guerrilla creation of director Kahleem Poole-Tejada and producer Stephen Koepfer.

Made in response to the ongoing legal battle for the sanctioning of MMA in the Empire State, New York Mixed Martial Arts follows the issue through the lens of a young amateur fighter, Brad Desir, in the process of making the jump to professional fighting. The film features interviews with such MMA staples as Josh Barnett, Fedor Emilianenko, Tara LaRosa, Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock and UFC president Dana White.

New York Mixed Martial Arts premiered as an official selection and opener of the 2011 Bronx Week Film Festival and has since been screening in select locations within New York State...

Read the entire article here