Thursday, February 28, 2013

The MMA In New York 2013 Scorecard

Confused by the long and winding road of the NY MMA ban? Check out Jim Genia's rundown and get yourself up to speed:

By Jim Genia | February 27, 2013

A law enacted in 1997 banning professional mixed martial arts. Failed lobbying efforts to repeal the law. A lawsuit filed by Zuffa against the state for not lifting the ban. A multitude of hungry fans, homegrown fighters, and promoters chomping at the bit. A Cormac McCarthy-esque nightmare landscape where to see a UFC event in person, residents have to take a PATH train across the Hudson River. If you find the whole mess that is the ongoing struggle to get MMA sanctioned and regulated in New York confusing, you're not alone. It's confusing to everyone. Here, then, is a scorecard featuring all the relevant parties and where they stand in 2013. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of – from the UFC to the Culinary Union to the athletic commission to the regional promoters. This should help bring you up to speed...

Dejavu All Over Again - MMA Bill Passes First Hurdle in the Senate

Today, the New York State Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation for overwhelmingly (11 to 3) approved bill S.2755, which would authorize the New York State Athletic Commission to add Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to the list of contact sports that may hold matches and exhibitions in New York.

As in years past, this is just the first of many steps the bill will need to pass through. While passage in the Senate is expected, the Coalitionto Legalize MMA in NY applauds the the legislation's approval by today's Senate Committee. Next stop for this bill will be the Senate Finance Committee.


MMA World Expo 2013- the experience

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MMA Judging and Referee Seminars Illustrate Lack of New York MMA Infrastructure

The Fight Nerd
By Peter Lampasona
February 26, 2013

When it comes to MMA, Rob Hinds knows his stuff. In fact, in a room filled with long-time adherents to the sport, including staple UFC official “Big” Dan Miragliotta, there was no doubt that Hinds was the one doing the teaching. With an engaging energy and a succinct answer to every question, Hinds commanded the attention of the gym that was hosting the ABC approved MMA officiating seminars that he was leading.

I had both trained with and conducted interviews with fighters at Tiger Martial in Levittown, New York before I came to the start of the seminars the morning of March 16. I even counted some of the staff as friends, even though as a sports writer I’m not necessarily supposed to. But, in a familiar building to discuss a sport I believed myself to be an expert, I had plenty of new experiences. There were reporters, veteran coaches and fighters such as local fighting pride and UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta. And all of them learned at least some nuance of judging or officiating that they had never seen before that day.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Testimony In the Maryland Assembly Regarding State Regulation of Amateur MMA and Kickboxing

The following video highlights testimony before the Economic Matters Committee of the Maryland Legislature. The hearing regards Bill HB0351 which proposes that the State Athletic Commission regulate amateur mixed martial arts and kick boxing.

The bill (if passed into law) would authorize the State Athletic Commission to license and regulate amateur mixed martial arts and amateur kick boxing; expand the scope of drug testing for specified contestants; repeal specified mandatory sanctions for specified contestants who refuse to submit to specified tests or test positive for the presence of specified drugs; require specified contestants to submit to a specified blood test under specified circumstances; define terms; make technical changes; etc.

Starting at 1:24 of this video, you can observe expert testimony on the matter:
Offering testimony at this hearing are Maryland State Athletic Commissioner Patrick Pannella; Dr. Sherry Wulkun, Rinside Physician; Nick Lembo, New Jersey Athletic Control Board; and David Braslow MMA Official.


South Dakota Debates MMA Regulation

South Dakota is on of only three states that has no Athletic Commission to oversee combat sports, leaving MMA in a state of unregulation. During a recent discussion on the topic Representative Steve Hickey, who is opposed to allowing MMA into South Dakota and wishes to ban it, showed his complete ignorance calling MMA the "child porn of sports." Check the video here:

Well, Representative Hickey may not want MMA in South Dakota, but the reality is that it is already there in an unregulated (read unsafe) fashion. Maybe is Hickey and Governor Dennis Daugaard, who is also opposed to MMA regulation in South Dakota, would eductae themselves and allow for regulation, they may prevent another tragedy like last year's death of Dustin Jensen in their own state.

Conversely, Senator Mark Johnston is leading a charge to create an athletic commission with the responsibility of regulating mixed martial arts. Needless to say we support Senator Johnston!

Prohibition = Reckless disregard of safety
Regulation = Safety

If any of our readers are South Dakota voters, contact your legislator and voice your support for safe regulated MMA!

Check out Bloody Elbow's report

Mixed martial arts battle starts up again in NY

Debate in Senate begins anew on whether to make sport legal in New York
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ALBANY — Advocates of mixed martial arts say this is their year.
What has become a perennial debate at the Capitol will kick off this week when a state Senate committee takes up a bill that would legalize the spectator combat sport popularized by the Ultimate Fighting Championship league. New York and Connecticut are the only states that ban professional bouts, though amateur fights have taken place in various parts of the Empire State.

A corps of senior legislators, mostly Democrats in the conference that dominates the Assembly, has blocked professional MMA fights because of moral objections and, according to the sport's backers, as a result of a dispute between the UFC's owners and a Las Vegas labor union. But as the UFC celebrates its 20th anniversary later this year, its fans and backers emphasize that MMA bouts are now well-regulated and an increasingly mainstream attraction, having crept from pay-per-view to broadcast networks.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Fighters Source Comes to NYC for Amateur MMA Event on March 23rd

Fighters Source
FS PRESS RELEASE: February 21st., 2013



The “Kings of New York” competition will feature the top Amateur MMA Fighters from the New York and New Jersey area. Fighters Source™ will select these athletes with the coordination of USA MMA KI Federation.

“This is an exciting time for Fighters Source™ and Amateur MMA. Fighters Source is looking forward to showcasing the best of Amateur MMA athletes in the New York and New Jersey area for the first time ever in a sanctioned forum,” said Anthony Medina, CEO of Fighters Source™.

The winner in each weight division will qualify to join Fighters Source™ Amateur MMA Team USA and will be provided with an all expense paid trip to compete in the Fighters Source™ Korea Open in the Summer of 2013. This tournament will be known as the “Super Bowl” of Amateur MMA. USA MMA KI Federation & Fighters Source™ will take this highly skilled team of Amateur MMA athletes to the international stage to compete at the prestigious Yong-In University in Seoul Korea.

Tryouts for “Kings of New York” will be conducted throughout the New York and New Jersey area during February and March. All athletes will be required to demonstrate the following skills: conditioning, striking, takedowns and grappling. Their skills will be tested and graded by USA MMA KI Federation and Fighters Source™ senior instructors.

“The USA MMA KI Federation sanctions competitive events for Mixed Martial Arts with dedicated supervision focused on the safety of the athletes. Each fighter is watched closely by certified referees and medical physicians to insure minimal risk to these aspiring athletes who have trained hard and dedicated themselves to excel in our sport,” said Frank Babcock, President of USA MMA KI Federation.

“We are working toward bringing this sport to an Olympic level”, added Renzo Gracie, North Eastern Regional Director of USA MMA KI Federation.

This tournament will be commentated by former UFC fighter Seth “Silver Back” Petruzelli, and guest commentator former television sportscaster Sal Marchiano.

"The increasing worldwide appeal and popularity of this form of sports entertainment cannot be denied. Fighters Source will be the source for athletic and combative talent for years to come, as the Golden Gloves competitions are to boxing,” said Sal Marchiano, MMA commentator & former sports television commentator.

Sponsors of the event include D.A.R.E, Adidas, Elite Arsenal, Medcam, Kulture, Powerful Yogurt, Aqua Hydrate, Club 39, Moving Box Studios and MBP.


Fighters Source™ is an international amateur MMA league dedicated to helping amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes accomplish their dreams of athletic achievement. The organization promotes amateur MMA as a sport requiring high-level performance in a wide range of martial arts from striking to kicking to grappling, Jiu Jitsu and Judo.

Fighters Source’s founders, Anthony Medina, Kevin Medina, Brandon Medina, and Adam Meyers are life time Mixed Martial Arts practitioners themselves and know the obstacles young men and women face in establishing themselves as professional fighters in this sport. They have created an organization that provides young athletes with the experience, resources, discipline and opportunity to successfully compete against other top international amateur teams at the highest level. The organization’s encourages fans to “Find the Fighter in You™.”

To learn more about Fighters Source please visit, and

USA MMA KI Federation (USAMMAKIF), is recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 Missouri Corporation dedicated to the advancement of safety in the sport of amateur competitive combative competition. Their participating athletes strive for recognition in highly disciplined sports that requires practice and dedication to excel in mind, body and spirit. USA MMA KI Federation serves as a developing organization in the USA creating a platform for national and world-class international competition leading to future Olympic recognition. To learn more about the organization visit

**Athletes & Cage Girls, register at:

Media Contact for Fighters Source™:
Ollie Gejevski - Marketing Director

PR Contact for Fighters Source™:
Hillary Herskowitz

Purchase your tickets HERE:

Social Media:
Facebook: Fighters Source
Twitter: @fighterssource


Alejandro Prieto
Marketing/Events Coordinator
Fighters Source

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Professional MMA Gains a Bit More Ground in NY

Yesterday afternoon I sat in courtroom 18b of Manhattan Federal Court as the lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of New York's MMA ban finally went to trial. In the surprisingly quiet courtroom sat only a handful of observers including veteran journalist Jim Genia, host of Darce Side Radio Mike Stets, TNT Fight Series promoter (and plaintiff) Don Lilly, UFC Associate General Counsel Timothy Bellamy, some legal interns, and a few others.

On November 15, 2011, multiple plaintiffs backed by Zuffa, LLC (parent company of the UFC) filed their complaint that New York's ban of live professional MMA was unconstitutional on several counts. Since then we have seen a paper chase of motions to dismiss, amended complaints, amended motions, and finally yesterday's oral arguments in front of Judge Kimba Wood.

Most of the arguments yesterday were essentially oral regurgitation of the written complaints and dismissal motions from the past year. But even in this, the plaintiff's legal team of Barry Friedman and Jamie Levitt launched verbal surgical strikes on a clearly under-prepared John M. Schwartz, who was representing the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. New York had not sent their A team to argue this case. From the opening statements when Judge Wood asked each side to describe for her what exactly Mixed Martial Arts is it was obvious that Schwartz, who could barely define the sport, was not well prepped.

The Perry Mason moment arrived when the topic of Constitutional Vagueness was raised in relation to New York's allowance of amateur MMA unregulated by the NY Athletic Commission and the state's history of flip flopping with regard to interpretation and enforcement of the ban. The current position the state took at the trial is that under the ban's language, amateur MMA does not fall under the jurisdiction of the current law or the NY Athletic Commission; that the current law only bans professional combat sports (MMA & Muay Thai); and that professional combat sports have a legal pathway if sanctioned as a martial art by one of the third party sanctioning bodies named in the current law.

Many refer to this as the "loophole" which has long been the legal foundation behind the existence of the unsanctioned Underground Combat League and more recently allowed sanctioned amateur MMA and professional Muay Thai to be hosted in New York State. In truth, it is no loophole at all. It is simply the law as written. It only seems a "loophole" because it is crazy to think that a law banning a sport would also include a legal pathway to allow the same sport. But, this "loophole" is not news. Justin Klein, among others have been noting the presence of this legal pathway for years. The big question has always been whether a promoter would risk prosecution for hosting a pro MMA show in NY.

While the "loophole" has been known to exist by pretty much everyone in the NY MMA community, the state has only recently acknowledged it on the record as a result of this lawsuit and has historically shut down events in spite of it (using state alcohol laws). During the trial yesterday Friedman skillfully posited a question to Schwartz regarding which of the state's many legal interpretations he would stand behind on the record in front of a judge. In short, Friedman asked if the state would simply clarify that holding a professional MMA event under the sanction of one of the exempt martial arts organizations was legal and if it would result in prosecution by the AG's office; concluding that if that was the case then there was no need for a lawsuit at all. Schwartz, looked blindsided.

The ball was in Schwartz's court. Judge Wood, also seeing the logic in Friedman's question (and a way to end the trial) pushed for an answer from Schwartz. What was clear to all in the room, including Schwartz, was that professional MMA was legal in New York if sanctioned by a third party organization. Would he simply state it for the record on behalf of the AG's office? The other critical question was whether or not the state would prosecute a promoter who held an event here under the "loophole." For many long torturous minutes Schwartz danced on egg shells, clearly not wanting to be the man who opened the MMA floodgates in NY. In truth, he had no authority to answer any questions about future prosecution. He was going to pass that buck to someone higher up the food chain at the AG's office.

Seeing that Schwartz would not answer the question, Judge Wood ordered both parties to gather the persons needed to make such decisions, arrange to meet before a Magistrate Judge and settle this once and for all. She gave a deadline of two weeks to arrive at a settlement or else it was back to court for everyone to conclude the trial.

Where does this leave us?

In essence we have on record that live professional MMA could be legally hosted in NY if sanctioned by one of the exempt martial arts sanctioning bodies (WKA, USA Judo, PKF, etc). But, we knew this already, didn't we? The critical question is whether or not the state will stand behind this interpretation of the law and not prosecute a promoter who hosts an event. This will be the meat of the settlement talks. My guess is that Attorney General Schneiderman will make no guarantees regarding future prosecution and toss the ball back to the plaintiffs as if to say "Host an event and find out." So, in the end, this really will come down to whether or not a promoter and sanctioning body want to take that risk.

So, regardless of whether this case is dismissed or not, it seems pretty apparent that a promoter who is willing to take a significant risk can hold a professional MMA event here just as the WKA has done with professional Muay Thai, despite the ban remaining in place. But, there is concern with this as well because the language of the ban as addressed in the trial precludes regulation by the NY Athletic Commission. Discussed at length in court yesterday were the safety issues surrounding the ban, lack of involvement by the commission, and poor oversight by many of the sanctioning bodies operating in NY. Entered into evidence was the recent Association of Boxing Commissions letter damning NY on their poor handling of combat sports.

In the end, we are in a critical "wait and see" moment. Will the parties settle? Will the case go back to court for a decision from Judge Wood? Will these events prompt the legislature to finally pass legislation? After all, no legislator likes to have the court make an end run around them. And if there is a settlement or judge's decision that brings NY sanctioned professional MMA that operates outside of the jurisdiction of the state athletic commission (and the state tax collectors), I suspect Albany will act quickly to pass subsequent legislation lifting the ban and providing terms for regulation.

Many people are getting excited thinking MMA has come to New York. We are definitely closer, but we still have to wait and see.

Stephen Koepfer
Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stephen Koepfer talks NY MMA on Real Talk MMA Podcast

Recorded Sunday, February 10th

Coalition founder Stephen Koepfer sits down with AJ & Ben to talk about the current state of the fight for legal and regulated pro MMA in NY. Also discussed: Amateur MMA in NY, training of officials, and more.

Listen to internet radio with Real Talk MMA on Blog Talk Radio

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Legal No Holds Barred: The UFC Takes on New York in a Battle for MMA's Future


The UFC is facing the fight of the company's life this Wednesday in U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood's Pearl Street courtroom, leading a group of plaintiffs contesting a 1997 law that made the sport of mixed martial arts illegal in the state of New York. It's a battle that has raged for years, quietly at first, but publicly and in earnest in 2007 when the UFC began to attack New York's ban in the press and in the legislature, pumping millions of dollars into the state in attempt to bring the sport to the historic Madison Square Garden....


Monday, February 4, 2013

Assemblyman Ceretto Introduces 2013 MMA Legislation

Mixed Martial Arts In New York State Should Be Legalized: Assemblyman John Ceretto
Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

A local push is on to legalize mixed martial arts in New York state.

New York state Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, on Thursday introduced legislation to make the professional fighting sport legal and regulated in the Empire State.

In a release from his office, Ceretto said the sport is expected to generate more than $5.2 million in economic activity a year in Western New York, plus additional revenue for the rest of the state. Currently, Mixed Martial Arts is regulated and recognized by 36 out of 44 states that have athletic commissions including California, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania...