Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There can be only one (first sanctioned NY MMA in 10 years that is)

Last January, when New York State admitted that amateur MMA was legal in NY and not under the purview of the NYS Athletic Commission, it made little news outside the local NY MMA community. NYS gave up this juicy tidbit (one that most of us locals knew already) in order to defend the larger battle brewing in the federal lawsuit Zuffa et al is waging against the ban on live professional mixed martial arts.

But, those paying attention, myself included, knew this was a big deal. Did NYS just admit that amateur MMA was legal? Despite years of trying to convince us otherwise? Really? Those of us paying attention to anything other than UFC spin on the issue were left wondering who would be the first to host an amateur event after the state's recent admission that it was legal. The last non-underground show in NY was Lou Neglia's "Vengeance at the Vanderbilt" on June 28, 2002. That was around the time NYS started kicking it into high gear, shutting everything down that they could in order to stamp out MMA once an for all.

So, were any sanctioning bodies out there listening last January? Would they test the state and host an event? The answer is yes. Someone was listening.

The USMTA, who regularly sanctions amateur Muay Thai, will take NYS at their word. On May 19, 2012 the USMTA will sanction the TNT Fight Series in Tonowanda, NY. Fighters will come from Hawaii, Florida, Ohio, Canada, and of course NEW YORK to be on the first sanctioned MMA card in our state in 10 years.

So, from the Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY, we offer a big note of thanks to the USMTA for stepping up.

* Thanks as always to Jim Genia for the fact checking ;)



  1. I've read this article and don't want readers to get the wrong impression that this is in some way a challenge to NYS. It is not to be taken as the "dare you to stop us" type. The man who has the task of oversight on this happens to be my kickboxing instructor. He is a part of the USMTA committee. The idea was brought to him, he then in turn contacted the state athletic commission regarding their stance on it, they had no issue as long as it was an all amateur event run by a legit sanctioning body AND the local municipality had to argee to allow this type of an event. Mind you this is basically a trial run so to speak. If all goes well and the show is a success then i see no reason why more of these wouldn't spring up in other local areas. It's a small step in the right direction. Don't be surprised to learn of many others schools/promoters kicking it into high gear for an explosion. Maybe just maybe, New York will finally take a step back and second guess their stance on the issue of legalizing ALL MMA in NY.

  2. I agree. This is not a "dare" situation and should not be considered so. It should be seen as NYS finally allowing what we all knew was legal to occur.

    When NYS acknowledged it was in fact legal to hold amateur events, we were hoping someone would host a show. We are glad the USMTA is willing to sanction. It clearly is a trial run, but I suspect it will be fine.

    I think it is a great thing and a step forward.

  3. Some have suggested to me recently that the UCL (Underground Combat League) has been going on for years in NYC is not getting proper recognition as they have had an event since the state's admission last January; that this TNT show is not "first".

    To be clear, this TNT/USMTA show is the first event in a decade getting formal sanctioning, out in the open, from a recognized martial arts organization in NYS. There will be oversight of the event by a larger group with insurance, medical staff, standardized rules, etc.

    The UCL has been hosting events for years in NYC. But, it has not lived up to the same standards in terms of oversight and standardization from a larger sanctioning body. This is not to say that I think the UCL was out of line or a bad thing. The UCL certainly pushed boudaries and gave people a place to fight if they chose. In fact, the UCL helped the cause in NYS with their mass amount of controversial media attention alone. Some might argue that the UCL helped set the stage for the steps forward happening now.

    To learn more about the UCL, you must check out Jim Genia's book: Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts. Here is my review: http://nymmanow.blogspot.com/2011/09/book-review-raw-combat-underground.html