Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Klutch Wear Teams up with NY MMA NOW!

New York based company, Klutch Wear, teams up with The Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY!

Klutch Wear is a dynamic brand made for the rapidly growing MMA fan base. Its mission is to build an interactive community where the fans rule and will be given the unique opportunity to create new designs. The future holds great promise as Klutch Wear expands to include a full array of MMA gear and sets itself apart from the competition.

In anticipation of the release of "New York MMA" on May 16th at the Bronx Week Film Festival, Klutch Wear has agreed to be on hand to support our film with product give-aways!

But, that's not all folks! Klutch Wear has recently signed a deal to have their clothes sold at the Jones Beach store this summer and will be present at all concerts, events, etc! They have generously offered to place our NY MMA NOW logo on their signage and are going to be handing out our MMA Fact Sheet with all purchases and at the store!

This is what the New York MMA community can do when we put our heads together and support each other!

So, I want to say a big public THANK YOU to Klutch Wear from the Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY! Everyone check out their website and support a company that supports MMA in New York!

Monday, April 25, 2011

High times for MMA in New York

By Eli Epstein
Washington Square News
April 24, 2011

As opinion editor, I often undertake the grim duty of siphoning through all of the unfortunate events going on in our world. I read about Libya and Japan and scores of other struggles and tragedies, but what often hits the hardest is the fight over the New York State budget and the continual discussion of what stays and what goes. Though I'm not originally from Manhattan, nor am I any sort of fiscal expert, it hurts to see that the state has to make education cuts year after year. I've spent time volunteering in New York City public schools, where I've witnessed firsthand just how important education funding is in hiring motivated teachers and enhancing the futures of our city's youth.

What makes this all the more disturbing is how the state has handled the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts, which failed to make it through the legislature last year despite passing through the Senate and two Assembly committees...

Read the entire editorial here

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Columbia Journalism Student Brett Teal Reports on MMA in NY!

Mixed Martial Arts Still Illegal in New York from Brett Teal on Vimeo.

Thanks Brett!!

New York MMA Film

The Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York is very pleased to announce that the film we have been working on with Kahleem Poole - Tejada for nearly a year now, New York MMA, has been accepted as an Official Selection in the First Annual Bronx Week Film Festival!

Visit our film page to see the trailer and learn more about the festival!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Right Hook Radio" covers MMA in NY

On April 11th, Coalition member Justin Klein (The Fight Lawyer) appeared on "Right Hook Radio" (the official radio program for New York's Young Republicans) to discuss the NY MMA Initiative and Legalizing MMA in NY.

On March 15th, Assemblyman Dean Murray appears on "Right Hook Radio" to discuss bringing legal and regulated MMA to New York. Assemblyman Murray has been a supporter of the Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY and is a co-sponsor of Bill A04146, the bill to legalize and regulate MMA in NY.

Wright is Right! A Message to NYS Assembly and New Yorkers

Since 1997, when the draconian ban on mixed martial arts (MMA) was put in place, New York fans and athletes have been longing to be able to watch and safely compete in the sport we love. We have wanted to enjoy MMA in our home state in front of our friends and families. During the past fourteen years the sport has grown up around us, matured around us, and benefited the states and countries around us. New York is the pedestrian who stands alone on the platform after just missing his train.
New York has not been left completely behind. We have fighters, gyms, coaches, and legions of New York fans that travel and spend lots of money to participate or watch professional and amateur MMA events elsewhere. Still, most of us are only able to watch the sport we love on television.  We are taunted by Times Square billboards advertising the latest UFC event. We are regularly reminded of what we don’t have when New York hosts the World MMA Expo, Strikeforce fan events, UFC press conferences, or book signings with our favorite fighters. All this only reminds us that we New Yorkers still live in the dark ages.
We New Yorkers have come close to getting what we want. During the past several years we have seen bills introduced in Albany that would finally bring MMA back to New York; only to have the light at the end of the tunnel extinguished by an ignorant vocal minority in opposition led by figure head Assemblyman Bob Reilly. But, Bob Reilly is only one man who can’t even justify his own argument when push comes to shove.
In 2010 Governor Patterson included MMA in his budget proposal and bills that would allow for legal and regulated MMA passed through committee in both the Senate and Assembly. The Senate voted favorably and passed the legislation. New Yorkers were excited. We really believed 2010 would be the year. All we needed was the approval of the Assembly. That approval never came.
Despite passing favorably though the required Assembly committees, Speaker Sheldon Silver never put the legislation to the floor for a vote. Silver holds the keys to the car in this regard. On the record, Silver can conveniently justify his refusal to put the legislation up for a vote by stating he simply responds to the will of the Assembly; that in conference, few Assemblypersons spoke up in support of the legislation. Silver has never given an on the record opinion regarding the legislation or sport itself. He prefers to stay quiet behind his curtain pulling the strings.
So here we are in 2011 fighting the same battle again like some bizarre historical re-enactment. Once again, legislation is on the move toward approval in the Senate; already having passed favorably through the required committees. Once again, legislation is scheduled to go into committee in the Assembly. Once again Bob Reilly is standing on his soapbox and sending memos urging Assemblypersons not to support regulated MMA in New York. And once again, we may find ourselves at the mercy of Speaker Sheldon Silver’s whims. What is different this year is that our legislators have been for from silent on the issue.
More New York legislators have spoken out in favor of regulated MMA than ever before.  Main stream media is pushing for legalization like we have never seen. New Yorkers have organized to fight for MMA like never before.  Sheldon Silver heard us loud and clear when we rallied in front of his New York office last February. Sources in Albany tell us that the topic of MMA has never been discussed with such frequency and urgency.
Perhaps the most encouraging evidence that things are favorably moving in Albany is a memo (attached below) that was obtained by the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.  The memo, which urges Assemblypersons to support legal and regulated MMA, was authored by Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright of New York’s 70th District. Assemblyman Wright outlines perhaps one of the strongest arguments in favor of MMA regulation in the Empire State.
It has never been more important for New Yorkers to contact their Assemblypersons. It has never been more critical that we do more than sign petitions and send letters. Now is the time to get out there and call or make appointments to meet our legislators in person. It is time to tell them face to face (politely please!) that we want regulated and legal MMA in New York.
This is the year that Sheldon Silver will hear the will of an Assembly that wants mixed martial arts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NY Times: Mixed Martial Arts Makes Inroads in Baseball Training

By Joe Brescia
NY Times

Mixed Martial Arts may be illegal in some states, but several baseball players are incorporating its fighting methods into their training routines...

Boxing Promoter Supports MMA Legalization in NY

Legalize mixed martial arts
by Lisa Elovich

With the budget in place, it's time for the state Legislature to get in line with the rest of the country and legalize mixed martial arts. New York is losing much-needed revenue to adjoining states and Canada. Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport for people between the ages of 18 and 34, as evidenced by the numerous gyms and fitness centers across the state that now offer classes in it and combat sports.

Monday, April 11, 2011

One Man in the Way of MMA in New York

Reprinted with permission from US Combat Sports

By Peter Lampasona

It's April in New York. Beaches are opening on Long Island. Fair-weather joggers are more easily coaxed into Central Park. And Albany is square in the middle of the political horse trading that is the legislative session. Among the issues being debated on the capital is a perennial battle for the sanctioning of mixed martial arts competition in the Empire State.

Debate about the value, both economic and ethical, of the young and often misunderstood sport can be put aside this year, as it has in years past. For the third time in a row, the bill to sanction MMA is nearly set to appear on the State Senate floor, where it will likely pass without issue. Yet, the sister bill in the State Assembly hovers in limbo where it may, also for the third year in a row, time out in committee before it ever sees an honest democratic vote.

A representative from the office of Assembly MMA bill sponsor Steve Englebright said that the legislation was ready to be put on the first of several committee schedules, and has been ready for over a month, yet could not speculate as to the reasons for the hold up.

No speculation is necessary. Everyone familiar with Albany knows that the third annual subversion of the lawmaking process is caused by one man whose name never even enters the lexicon of the debate on MMA in New York. That man is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Vocal opponents of the sport, such as upstate Assemblyman Bob Reilly and his Kantian objections to all forms of violence and aggression, provide an entertaining distraction for Silver's magic act as he single-handedly bars sanctioning in New York while avoiding all accountability for doing so.

Silver's office has openly refused to comment on the issue of MMA. His press secretary has loudly rebuked attempts to get the Speaker's opinion on even things as vague as the sport in general. The on-paper justification for Silver's expressed neutrality is that, as Speaker, he is a reflection of the majority party as a whole and does not want to influence the consensus with his own opinion.

In reality, no bill gets stuck in committee if Silver favors it. Nor does any bill get out when he doesn't. Mention that the popular suspicion is that a bill is being held up because of Silver and every other member of the Assembly will meet that accusation with a "that is how it is shrug." That Silver is the deciding factor is a well known fact that can't be proven. He is a whip who disguises himself as a mirror when people complain about the lashes.

Zuffa Entertainment, owners of the largest MMA organization in the world, The Ultimate Fighting Championship, and MSG Sports have pooled their resources in the lobbying effort to get the sport into the Empire State. But that effort is largely focused on Madison Square Garden and the benefits MMA would have on Mid-Town.

With no specific tribute paid to Silver's 64th district, the New York MMA promoters who are forced to spend extra money bringing their business to New Jersey, the New York MMA fans who often have to opt out of supporting their small local shows and athletes because they have to go so far to compete, and the New York MMA athletes who deserve to be able to play the game at home can all be damned. Shelly wants his cut.

In February, The Coalition to Legalize MMA in New York held a rally in front of Silver's district office in downtown Manhattan. The modest collection of MMA fans was one of the most organized and polite demonstrations that downtown had ever seen, with a clear and concise message that they wanted MMA brought to the state.

After the rally, whispers started to circulate from behind the scenes, once again with no public statement on the matter, that Silver was angry. As he should be. How dare a group of voters hold him at all accountable for something that is well known to be his fault but he has successfully hid behind the thin veil of plausible deniability?

Well, after three years running, Sheldon Silver isn't the only one who is angry. New Yorkers in the MMA community have every right to hold legitimate sporting competitions at home just as they can in almost every other state and tribal reservation in the continental United States. And these New Yorkers are tired of pretending to believe Silver's sleight of hand.

At this point every phone call to Albany, every letter to local representatives, and every public statement made by MMA's supporters needs to call out Silver on his accountability in this issue and to his constituency. Big lobby money only makes Silver want to collect another check when the battle starts again next year. Polite debate has only caused Silver to hide behind more vocal figureheads in the argument. The Speaker owes New York a statement other than "no comment."

Joe Lozito- the Subway Hero. A film by Kahleem Poole-Tejada and Frank Shamrock

Folks, here is a fantastic film by coalition member Kahleem Poole-Tejada and "The Legend" Frank Shamrock (who spoke at our February 8th rally in lower manhattan).

Working in conjunction with Frank Shamrock, Kahleem had the opportunity to have a sit down interview with one of Philly's and NYC's most notable heroes of this year: Mr Joseph Lozito.

Joe was able to take time out to discuss what happened on the Subway that fateful day where he was almost killed. But, to his advantage and influence from years of watching Mixed Martial Arts, was able to defend himself and apprehend the attacker- who had just finishing a killing spree throughout NYC.

Frank Shamrock

Court Bauer

Kahleem Poole-Tejada

Joseph Lozito
for this wonderful interview and for being a true inspiration to us all.

Hot97 Street Soldiers with FOX 5 New York's Lisa Evers on Mixed Martial Arts

On March 27th an MMA round table took place on air from the studio of the Hot 97 Street Soldiers with FOX 5 New York's Lisa Evers.

The panelists included:  Coalition member Justin Klein (The Fight Lawyer), Assemblyman Bob Reilly (the voice of the opposition to MMA in New York), Renzo Gracie (world-renown practitioner of Brazilian jiu jitsu and MMA and gym owner in New York), Ryan LaFlare (professional mixed martial artist and New Yorker), an underground fighter in New York, and Bloodstain Lane (hardcore mixed martial arts fan from New York).

Editorial Note: Correction

On March 13, 2011 I published "West Virginia legalizes MMA while New Jersey sits saturated - implications for New York". In this piece I inadvertently misquoted Steve Katz, promoter of the Evolution MMA show in New Jersey. In the original story, it is noted that the NJACB cut his calendar by 60% (from 10 shows to 4). In fact, his calendar was not cut in such a manner. More accurately, Katz' request for 12 show dates in 2011 was not approved. He was given 4 dates by the NJACB.

I sincerely apologize for the error. The article has been edited accordingly.

Stephen Koepfer

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stephen Koepfer on "No Holds Barred" with Eddie Goldman

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Stephen Koepfer, the co-founder of the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York, and the head coach at New York Combat Sambo.

Eddie Goldman spoke with Stephen on Friday afternoon, beginning by noting the growing public support for the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York. They also discussed some of what has been done and still needs to be done to win this battle in the New York State legislature.

The sport of sambo is growing in stature internationally, Koepfer discussed some of the recent successes by American athletes in international sambo competition. Also noted are how more people are realizing the effectiveness of sambo as one of the many disciplines which are essential for mixed martial arts, and how many athletes with success in both sport and combat sambo are now achieving success in mixed martial arts as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Men's Health" Editor-In-Chief Stands Behind MMA in NY!

From yesterday's New York Times...

It Only Looks Dangerous
Published: April 1, 2011

MIXED martial arts is one of the fastest-growing sports in America. Yet for years the New York State Legislature has refused to sanction M.M.A. — making New York one of the last states holding out against the sport’s expansion. (Connecticut is a holdout, too.) After helping to block a clause in last year’s budget that would have legalized M.M.A., Bob Reilly, a state assemblyman, called it “a violent sport not worthy of our society.”

Read Mr. Zinczenko's entire op-ed here

Friday, April 1, 2011

Brooklyn Review Episode on Mixed Martial Arts in New York

Brooklyn Independent Television's "Brooklyn Review" covers the issue of MMA in NY. Our friend and coalition member Justin Klein (the Fight Lawyer) is interviewed in the piece.