Monday, April 20, 2015

Sports Should Serve To Bring People Together

The opposition to NY MMA has reached new low. As reported in today's Daily News:
The fight against mixed martial arts has escalated, with a group of prominent New York Jewish leaders saying that legalizing the controversial sport could benefit a major anti-Israel force. 
The group has penned a letter to “friends of the Jewish community” that will go to state lawmakers and run in Jewish publications highlighting the fact that the Abu Dhabi government owns a 10% stake in the sport’s biggest league — the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 
Abu Dhabi is part of the United Arab Emirates, which the Anti-Defamation League ranked as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the world, the letter says.
The Daily News piece continues:
“At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise, we cannot stand by while Albany cuts a deal with a company whose profits will go directly into the hands of an enemy of Israel,” the letter says. “It is our hope that New York will continue its proud tradition as a staunch friend to the Jewish community by rejecting the legalization of mixed martial arts and saying no to a company and country that is clearly no friend of Israel.”
The opposition is clearly grasping at straws if they need to bring global religiopolitical issues into this. I am reminded of the great Fedor Emilianenko years back when asked at an interview (at 7:36 of the linked video) about US-Russia relations and his role as a Russian athlete competing in America. His is reply was spot on: "Sport is not politics. Any sport should serve to bring people together."

To infect international sports, in New York's case MMA, with racial politics is desperate, divisive and opportunistic to say the least. we should keep such politics out of sports. Secondly, the UFC is not MMA! Once again the opposition to our sport will throw the baby out with the bathwater; demonstrating they are anti-UFC, not anti MMA. The vast majority of the New York MMA community has nothing to do with UFC. As with most sports, only a small percentage of athletes and coaches will rise to that professional level. Furthermore, the opposition acts as if the UFC is not yet available in NY, which it clearly is in the form of internet and television viewership.

So, to all my readers - Please contact your Assembly member as well as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and respectfully inform them that such politics has no place in sports or in New York. Let them know we need to ratify Assembly bill A02604 to allow for regulation of amateur AND professional mixed martial arts in NY! If you are not a native New Yorkers please contact the office of Assembly Speaker Heastie and respectfully let him know you would visit our state to watch live MMA or bring your fighters and teams to compete here!

Contact Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie here:

District Office
1446 East Gun Hill Road
Bronx, NY 10469
Fax: 718-654-5836
District Office Directions

Albany Office
LOB 932
Albany, NY 12248
Fax: 518-455-5459
Albany Office Directions

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