Friday, June 24, 2011

July 30th showing of "New York Mixed Martial Arts" in Lyons, New York

We are proud to announce that "New York Mixed Martial Arts" will run a one time only show with Q&A after the film on Saturday, July 30th, at 2pm, at the Ohmann Theatre in Lyons, New York (near Rochester)!

Tickets will be $10 at the door and will help fund our efforts in promoting the film and MMA in NY! Please tell everyone you know in the area! Let's get a great turn out and show what kind of support MMA has in New York!

Big thanks to Mong Phu and Fusion Mixed Martial Arts for organizing this Screening!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why we did not get MMA this year

Unfortunately, as you may know by now, the legislation that would have legalized mixed martial arts in New York State stalled out in the Assembly (as it did in 2010); never making it through the required Ways & Means Committee by the end of the legislative calendar on June 20, 2011.

Despite a clear mandate by the people of New York, the Senate, and members of the Assembly, Chairman Herman D. Farrell Jr. of the Way & Means Committee blocked the legislation by failing to present it to his committee for review. Farrell, a known opponent of mixed martial arts, chose to ignore the mandate set in front of him by his peers and the people of New York and in so doing, trampled the integrity of the legislative process.

Had Farrell put his personal prejudice against mixed martial arts aside and allowed the legislation to be reviewed by his committee, it is generally believed that bill would have passed as it did in the Assembly's Codes and Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committees. Nevertheless, even if it had passed through Ways & Means, the legislation would still have had to get to the Assembly floor for a vote. That would required the blessing of another long time opponent of mixed martial arts, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

In the wake of yet another major setback for mixed martial arts in New York, false rationalizations and narratives are already circulating. People are already suggesting that we sit back and wait till next year. Some are even questioning if New York MMA matters any longer. Once again the unions in Vegas are being falsely blamed for New York's inability to pass the legislation. Once again Assemblyman Bob Reilly, like Speaker Sheldon Silver before him, is falsely stating there was not enough support for the bill to necessitate putting it up for a vote.

The truth is often simpler than all the conspiracy theorists, lobbyists, and power brokers would have you believe. As is often the case, it is generally the simplest hypothesis which proves to be true. And in this case, the truth is very simple: mixed martial arts is not in New York because a few old, ignorant, and powerful politicians don't want it to be.

I recently received an e-mail in response to my Assembly memo in support of mixed martial arts. The e-mail was from Assemblyman Joel Miller and demonstrates what it is we are really up against in Albany. We are not up against unions or boxing fans or lack of support from our legislators. Mixed martial arts in New York is being held back by one thing: the ignorance of a few powerful men. Here is an example of such ignorance:
June15, 2011

Dear Constituent,
This is in response to your letter regarding Assembly Bill A4146. As I understand it, this bill would establish protocols for combative sports, authorize and tax gross receipts for mixed martial arts events. Thank you for taking the time to write and advise me of your views and concerns. 
Mixed Martial Arts is a brutal activity. These fighters should not be viewed as role models by our youth. Even though it is not known where the Governor currently stands on this issue, it would be better to cut spending than to allow these activities to be conducted and viewed in auditoriums or on TV, which could encourage immature individuals to imitate this behavior.
This bill was referred to the Ways & Means Committee on June 13, 2011. Should it come to the floor of the Assembly for a full vote, I will be voting in opposition. 

If either my staff or I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 845-463-1635 or via email at

Thank you again for writing.


Joel M. Miller
Member of Assembly
102nd Assembly District

So, what now? Do we sit back and wait until 2012 to begin again? No.

To sit back and wait now will squash all the headway and progress we supporters of mixed martial arts have made this year. In fact, to stop now would help our opponents in their goal of keeping our sport out of New York. The fact of the matter is we have momentum and a pulpit now. We need to keep up the pressure now. To quit now is to give up.

Now is when we need to fight harder, push the message more, and keep the issue alive. When January 2012 comes around, our legislators need to be on board, educated, an aware of this issue. Mixed martial arts needs to be front and center on their minds as it is now. We need to push this issue all summer and winter. This is where we will see if we have the drive to fight for our sport.

Will you keep fighting, keep sending e-mails, keep correcting the record? I hope so because if you don't, we have truly lost.

Stephen Koepfer

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mandate for Mixed Martial Arts in New York

Hi all,

Please take time to read the editorial I wrote for Bloody Elbow. Thanks to KJ Gould for contacting me and asking for a commentary! Thanks to BE for supporting MMA in NY!
Last Monday the Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee of the New York State Assembly voted in favor of the bill (A04146) to decriminalize and sanction mixed martial arts (MMA) by an overwhelming vote of 16-3. But, as if the fourteen year fight for legal MMA has not been long enough, on the eve of possible regulation in New York, debate continues full steam creating a virtual race for the finish line. The finish line is June 20th, the end of the 2011 legislative calendar....
Read the entire editorial here

Thanks to all the Assembly members who have supported MMA in NY!

We are coming down to the wire and everything depends on support in the Assembly right now!

I want to publicly thank and acknowledge all those Assembly members who have taken the time to respond to my e-mails and memos! We can do this if we keep the pressure on. Everyone continue to contact their Assembly member.

Don't quit! Don't listen to the folks who say the bill is dead! Don't listen to all the folks saying to start again next year! This year is not over yet. Keep fighting!

Here are some of the words of consideration and support I have received from the Assembly:

Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D, District 50, Kings County)
Stephen: I have voted in favor of the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts - particularly when Legislation moved out of the Committee on Codes (which I chair) for the first time. We all know there are underground events in New York. So, those events should be legal and monitored to ensure that they are safe and that the fighters and the spectators are protected. I think this about says it all. My vote clearly indicates my support on the matter.

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenny (R, District 115, Oneida County)
Dear Stephen,

            Thank you for contacting my office regarding your support for the regulation of professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts in New York State.

            You can be assured of my support of this legislation (A.4146) to legalize this sport in our state, because MMA can provide New York with a much needed economic boost and help generate much needed revenues for our state budget.

            Independent economic studies have verified that just one MMA show in New York City would generate over $11 million, an estimated $7 million on Long Island, and a show in upstate New York would generate over $5 million. MMA exhibitions fill hotel rooms and restaurants over the course of a full weekend, which will provide much needed revenue to our local businesses. 

            Currently, 44 states and several countries around the globe regulate this sport, and reap the economic rewards of holding exhibitions. New York can ill afford to remain on the sidelines.

            If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact my office.

Claudia Tenney, Member of Assembly
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, District 2, Suffolk County)
Dear Mr. Koepfer:

I am writing in response to your letter in which you express your support of legislation which authorizes Mixed Martial Arts in New York State.  Thank you for taking the time to write and share your opinions with me.

Please be advised that A.4146-A was referred to the Assembly Codes Committee on June 6, 2011 for review.  I can assure you that I have noted your opinions and will carefully consider them should I have an opportunity to vote on this bill during the remainder of the 2011 Legislative Session.

Again, thank you for your letter.  If I can be of further assistance to you concerning this or any other State matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely yours,
Fred W. Thiele, Jr.
Member of Assembly
Assemblyman Mark Johns (R, District 135, Monroe County)
Mr. Koepfer,

Thank you for your correspondence expressing your support for Mixed Martial Arts in New York State.
As you know, the State Senate recently passed Bill S1707A, which means that Mixed Martial Arts legislation should soon make its way to the State Assembly for a vote.  At this time, the only legislation in the Assembly regarding Mixed Martial Arts is Bill A4146. 

I do support this bill because I believe that this sport has the potential to spur our great state’s economy; as well as utilize our world-class venues such as the Blue Cross Arena, Carrier Dome, and Madison Square Garden.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts with me.  Please don’t hesitate to contact my District Office (268 Fairport Village Landing, Fairport, NY 14450 - 585-223-9130) with any additional concerns.

Thank you,

Mark Johns
Member of Assembly
135th District

Assemblyman James Tedisco (R, District 110, Saratoga County)
Thank you for contacting me with regards to bringing Mixed Martial Arts Events to New York State.  As you may know, there have been several pieces of legislation introduced to regulate the MMA. The New York State Athletic Commission regularly updates the list of martial arts organizations that are approved to conduct martial arts matches or exhibitions in New York. 
As a supporter of Mixed Martial Arts, I firmly believe that based on the economic benefits associated with New York State allowing MMA, that the Commission should revisit and review this subject.
Please be assured that if and when this legislation comes before the full House of the Assembly I will keep your views in mind.       
Again, thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts on this topic.

James N. Tedisco
110th Assembly District

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Silver is dead wrong on MMA (updated 6/9/2011)

Today, with regard to mixed martial arts, the NY Daily News quoted Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as saying "There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation" We know this is not the case. Silver, is completely disingenuous.

There has never been more support for this legislation: In the Assembly, the Senate, the press, and in New York. Speaker Silver can no longer claim he is following the will of the Assembly if he continues to block this legislation. A clear mandate has been set by the people of New York, the Senate, and the Assembly Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee. New York wants mixed martial arts.

Let me remind you of Assemblyman Wright's memo of support:

Let me remind you that this sport's time has come. Mixed martial arts is not "Ultimate Fighting" as the mainstream press (in this case, the Daily News) continues to falsely refer to us.  MMA is a highly regulated sport comprised of traditional martial arts that go back hundreds of years. Please take the time to re-read my memo of support:

If you are a New York fan, fighter, coach, or business owner, YOU MUST ACT NOW and contact your Assemblyperson.

If you are a member of the Assembly and support this legislation, YOU MUST ACT NOW, stand up and show your support.

Update: 6/9/2011

Since writing this post more information has come to light that demonstrates the error in Speaker Silver's opinion that the Assembly MMA legislation lacks support:

US Combat Sports: New York Assemblyman Dean Murray Proves Support of MMA with 60 Bipartisan Signatures. By Peter Lampasona

ESPN: MMA Stumbles in New York. By Josh Gross

MMA Junkie: After speaker's gloomy evaluation, assemblyman gives New York MMA bill 50-50 shot. By Steven Marrocco

Monday, June 6, 2011

Message to Assembly: Follow the mandate, give us MMA

Today the Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee of the New York State Assembly voted in favor of the bill (A04146) to decriminalize and sanction mixed martial arts by an overwhelming vote of 16-3.

Like the Senate before it, which passed companion legislation last May by a staggering 42-18 vote (as compared to the 32-26 vote in 2010), and its committees that passed the legislation 13-1 and 10-1, the Assembly Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee has created a clear mandate for its fellow Assemblypersons: New Yorkers want MMA and they want it now!

But, before we get too excited, the Assembly legislation still has several hurdles to jump. Next up is Codes, under the chairmanship of Assemblyman Joeseph R. Lentol. Assemblyman Lentol is a supporter of legalized mixed martial arts in New York and has stated as much to our Coalition. Reportedly, the bill will be on the calendar for Codes next week.

After Codes, the bill moves to Ways & Means under the chairmanship of Herman D. Farrell, Jr. Assemblyman Farrell has not been a supporter of legalized mixed martial arts in New York. This is where our next significant hurdle will be. Assemblyman Farrell must follow the mandate being set by the people of New York, the Senate, and his peers in the Assembly Tourism Committee by putting the legislation on the Ways & Means agenda.

Assuming Assemblyman Farrell does put the legislation on the calendar, and it passes, the bill will move on to Rules under the chairmanship of Speaker Sheldon Silver. This is where the legislation stalled in 2010. Speaker Silver never brought the legislation up for vote, noting that he was following the will of the Assembly. This year however, is another story. The people of New York and their legislators have clearly spoken. This year, if Speaker Silver is to follow the will of the people and his Assembly, he will have no choice but to put the legislation up for a vote.

If you are a fan, gym owner, fighter, coach, business owner and want mixed martial arts in New York, YOU MUST ACT NOW!

Contact Assemblyman Lentol and urge him to put the legislation on the Codes agenda.

Contact Assemblyman Farrell and urge him to put the legislation on the Ways & Means agenda.

Contact Speaker Silver and urge him to follow the will of the people and put the legislation up for a vote.

We can do this, it is not too late!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Free Long Island Screening of "New York Mixed Martial Arts" Documentary

Hi all, we will be having a free screening (and voluntary fundraiser) of the feature Documentary "New York Mixed Martial Arts" at Tiger Martial Arts in Levittown, NY on Saturday, June 4th, at 7PM.

This film was an official selection at the 2011 Bronx Week Film Festival. Come down and support MMA in NY!

We will be taking donations (voluntary - no pressure) to help pay for festival submissions, marketing, and othe costs of shopping this movie around.

To learn more about this film click here or join the film's Facebook Fan Page

New York MMA- Feature Film Trailer from Kahleem on Vimeo.