Monday, April 29, 2013

MMA Opponent Hoylman Suggests the Creation of a Fighter's Health Care Fund

In a bizarre twist to the battle for regulated professional Mixed Martial Arts in New York, Senator Brad Hoylman (D, District 27, Manhattan) states that he will be introducing a bill that (were it to become law) would establish a mandatory fighter's health care fund in New York. The Senator, who has historically opposed regulation of professional MMA, intends to look after the long term health care needs of fighters in our state; even though they can't yet fight here. While the legislation is not yet available to review, Hoylman claims the fund would be modeled off similar funds established for horse-racing jockeys and taxi drivers.

Read more about Hoylman's plan in this story by Alan Neuhauser:
Mixed Martial Arts Foe Launches Bill to Create Fighters' Health Care Fund

Generally speaking, I think New York has a rare opportunity to be a progressive force in the sport regarding regulation, health and safety of our fighters. We are is a position to raise the bar and set a national example. However, rather than create new legislation when we don't even have legal professional MMA in New York, why not support the original bill that allows for professional MMA, and push for inclusion of regulations that address improved health and safety measures? I can't see anyone being against looking at ways to protect our fighters in the long term. Nevertheless, it seems to me that this legislation is putting the cart before the horse.

Better yet, Senator Hoylman could draft legislation addressing the regulation of amateur MMA, which is already legal, unregulated by the NY Athletic Commission, and being practiced all over New York as we speak. Amateur MMA clearly affects more New Yorkers' than its professional sibling, while posing many more health and safety risks.

Read these past comments on the state of amateur MMA:
March 30, 2013: UPDATED: Concerns Over Amateur MMA Regulation Going National
January 25, 2013: Association of Boxing Commissions Slams NY on MMA Laws 
August 22, 2012:  Amateur MMA: When will we come out from the dark ages?
June 2, 2012:  Will the Dustin Jenson Tragedy Teach Us Something?

Why would Senator Hoylman be introducing legislation that addresses a scenario still illegal in New York? Maybe he simply sees the writing on the wall; that professional MMA will eventually come to our state. He may have the sense that the Assembly will follow the Senate's lead this year and pass the MMA legislation currently on the table (though most insiders are pessimistic about the Assembly bill's passage this year). Could Hoylman being staging this simply as a measure to "remind" people keep the ban in place? Whatever the reasons, he certainly has added another odd twist to the already bizarre world of New York MMA.

Stephen Koepfer
Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is the UFC Hurting Our Chances at Lifting the Ban?

From my Bloody Elbow editorial last year:
Furthermore, a lot of people are making a lot of money because professional MMA is banned. The unions and the UFC have presumably been contributing to the campaigns of their supporters for years. Both sides are employing lobbyists, PR firms, etc; all to address the "problem" of New York MMA regulation. Yet the "problem" is never solved.
Finally someone else is looking at this as a possible contributing factor as to why the ban on professional MMA has not been lifted in New York. From this week's Crain's New York: UFC's deep pockets may feed ban, By Aaron Elstein:
"Everyone knows these guys have a lot of money," the insider said, referring to the Fertitta brothers, who bought UFC in 2001 for $2 million and built the company into one reportedly worth $2 billion. "The ban has nothing to do with people being concerned about the morality of the sport or injuries to the athletes. This is about getting more money from UFC before the law is overturned."
 Read Mr. Elstein's entire commentary HERE

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jim Genia Interview with Stephen Koepfer for

Here is an interview I did with Jim Genia for his weekly update on NY MMA for

Nick Lembo on Michigan Radio Discussing Amateur MMA Regulation

Stateside with Cynthia Canty
April 11th Episode

As the national debate over gun control continues, we take a look at just how pervasive gun violence is here in Michigan.

We also look at efforts to regulate Mixed Martial Arts fighting in Michigan [with guest Nick Lembo of the NJ Athletic Control Board].

And zombies are taking over MSU. Students are fighting back... with nerf guns (they work on zombies).

Later in the show, we meet a writer and fisherman who finds his inspiration in the Detroit River.

But first, we check-in with Daniel Howes, columnist at the Detroit News, about Gov. Rick Snyder's relationship with those in his party.