2012 Rally/Film Festival

On March 6th 2012 the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York held a full day of events to support the legalization of live Mixed Martial Arts in New York State

Event 1: NYC Rally for Legal Live Mixed Martial Arts!

Between 11:30am and 1:30pm over 40 MMA fans gathered in front of Governor Cuomo's Manhattan office to demand his public support of the lifting of the 1997 ban on live Mixed Martial Arts.
Rally Speakers included:
Micheal Benjamin
Michael Benjamin has more than 25 years experience in progressively responsible positions in the fields of Government, Human Services and Politics. He was elected to four terms of office as a Member of the New York State Assembly. Before entering the State Assembly, Michael headed the Bronx Board of Elections. He has twice served as parliamentarian on the Bronx Democratic County Committee. During his tenure in the New York State Assembly, Michael was a co-sponsor of the bill to legalize live mixed martial arts in New York.

Over his professional career, he worked for Members of the New York State Assembly, New York City Council and the United States Congress. He has delivered speeches, talks and lectures on government, education policies, electoral politics, and race. Michael is a regular contributor to many New York newspapers and is sought for political commentary.

Michael graduated from The Bronx High School of Science and Syracuse University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He has done graduate work in public administration, community public health, and urban affairs at SUNY-Binghamton, NYU, and Hunter College. Michael In 2007, he was the first New York state legislator to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President. and his wife, Kennedy wed in November 2003. In February 2007, they were profiled as one of NYC’s Power Couples in City Hall magazine. Listen to Michael Benjamin on Cage Radio last year

Jim Genia
Jim is a long time journalist and author of "Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts," which is a rare, often humorous, and intimate glimpse into the world of New York Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).  It is a love letter to the sport and community he has covered since the beginning.  New York, where MMA competition is still illegal, is a time capsule.  Jim Genia is our official historian.

Open Mic
The rally offered the opportunity to local fans, business owners, and members of the NY MMA community to take the mic and tell Governor Cuomo in their own words why they want the live MMA ban in NY lifted. We were honored to have many NY based men and women who serve our country attending today's rally, and in particular USMC Master Seargent George Lopez who took the mic on their behalf!

Event 2: Mixed Martial Arts Documentary Film Festival

4:00pm – 8:00pm - The Theater Lobby at Madison Square Garden
(7th Avenue at 32nd Street).

The Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York, in association with Madison Square Garden and TaKe On Productions, hosted a FREE MMA documentary film festival which was attended by over 100 people. Media and fan Q & A sessions with the Director and Producer followed each film.

4:00pm – World Premiere of “In Her Corner: The Inside Story of Women’s MMA”

This film features interviews with Munah Holland, Bjorn Rebney, and Roxanne Modafferi. (Run Time: 32 minutes). Produced by Cherri Shepherd and Matthew Kaplowitz. Directed by Matthew Kaplowitz. Post film Q&A included Cherri Shepherd, Matthew Kaplowitz, Munah Holland, and Paul Querido.

4:45pm – Manhattan Premiere of “New York Mixed Martial Arts”

This film features interviews with Bas Rutten, Josh Barnett, Frank Shamrock, and many New York-based MMA personalities. (Run Time: 60 minutes). Produced by Stephen Koepfer. Directed by Kahleem Poole-Tejada. Post film Q&A included Kahleem Poole-Tejada and Stephen Koepfer.

6:00pm New York Premier of “Fight Life”

Featuring interviews with Jake Shields, Miesha Tate, Nick Diaz, and Big John McCarthy. (Run Time: 72 minutes). Produced and Directed by James Z. Feng. Post film Q&A included Producer James Shih.

Mixed Martial Arts Trivia Challenge

Attendees of the rally and film festival were challenged to answer MMA trivia questions for a chance to win prizes including vintage MMA memorabilia, Klutchwear shirts, Round 5 toys, jake Shields autographed "Fight Life" T-shirts, and a pair of ringside seats for “Muay Thai at the Mecca” presented by TaKe On Productions at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Be sure to join our social networking campaign and letter writing campaign
Download our MMA FACT SHEET to hand out wherever you can!

Event Coverage!
February 29th, 2012: Stephen Koepfer Joins Mauro Ranallo on the MMA Show

March 1st, 2012: Safety Concerns Prevent Pro MMA
The Oswegonian, Benjamin Schleider

March 2nd, 2012: Rally to Legalize MMA in New York
Fight Diary, Thomas Saladino

March 3rd, 2012: Stephen Koepfer sits in on No Holds Barred with Eddie Goldman to discuss Rally and Film Festival.

March 5th, 2012: Rally to legalize MMA in NY March 6th
MMA Diehards, Michael Steczkowski

March 6th, 2012: With Legalization on the Table Again, MMA Group Hosts Tuesday Rally
MMA Junkie, Steven Marrocco

March 7th, 2012: Former Assemblyman Says Women Athletes Key to MMA Legalization in New York. 
The Fight Nerd, Peter Lampasona

March 7th, 2012: New York MMA Rally Postscript
MMA Journalist, Jim Genia

March 7th, 2012: MMA in NY Daily News
Fight Diary, Thomas Saladino

March 11th, 2012: Stephen Koepfer discusses some post rally thoughts on No Holds Barred
No Honds Barred, Eddie Goldman

March 12th, 2012: Free Fighting: Protesting the Mixed-Martial-Arts Ban in New York.
The New Yorker (March 19, 2012 issue), Kelefa Sanneh

March 14th, 2012: Stephen Koepfer sits in on Darce Side Radio
MMA Diehard's Darce Side Radion, Mike Stets