This is an ongoing list of people who have supported legalization of MMA in NY or endorsed the Coalition To Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York!

Evgeni Kogan, Global Director of Operations for M1
The rally on February 8th marks another pivotal date in the growth and acceptance of mixed martial arts as a legitimate sport, not only in the United States and North America but also on the global scale. M-1 Global and many other organizations have spent countless hours and invested even more dollars into a very young sport so that it can continue to evolve.

Billions of people tune in to watch Olympic sports, many of which form the basis of a mixed martial artist's fundamental skillset. This quest hinges on the ability to educate politicians on the reality that MMA is a legitimate sport and not comprised of thugs having 'tough man' contests without rules. In a tough economic climate, MMA is a business generating revenues for cities around the world. Today's professional MMA athletes are role models for today's youth to develop self-dicipline, self-confidence and to achieve goals through dedication, commitment and hard work - qualities which are valued at every level in society.

With a common, educated voice speaking to the few who make decisions for the majority, there is great hope that a positive outcome can be acheived. Take this valuable time to speak with fact and influence to correct the inaccuracies within MMA that some believe to be true.

Good luck!

Evgeni Kogan and your friends at M-1 Global!
Editor-in-Chief of "Fight! Magazine", Donovan Craig.
At FIGHT! we support the legalization of the great sport of Mixed Martial Arts in New York.  We plan to cover the demonstration and perhaps some of us may even attend.

Donovan Craig
Editor In Chief
FIGHT! Magazine
MMA, Pancrase, and UFC Legend Guy Mezger
February 8th is a important date for you New Yorkers who claim to be MMA fans. You have an opportunity to step up and really show your support by attending the upcoming rally in Lower Manhattan. Politicans are politicans (that is not a good thing or a bad thing, is what it is) and they are going to be motivated by what the voter say or are willing to do. If there is enough support at this rally then the politicans will listen. You have a choice to either sit in the corner wishing for it to get done or get in the ring and be part of making it get done.

One word of caution, you will be representing MMA as a whole so don't be a jerk. Act responsible and with dignity. Don't give the nay sayers any ammo to use against the effort to get MMA legalized in New York. Steve Armstrong and myself had this same battle years ago in our successful efforts to get MMA legalized in Texas, so, I am talking from experience here and not just wishful thinking.

Good luck - Guy Mezger
Jean-Francois Court, 1984-88 Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler for France and now Dollamur International Sales Manager
A big day next February 8th, 2011 for all MMA fans!!! I support 100% MMA in NY State and its legalization.
Statement by outgoing Assemblyman Michael Benjamin (D-Bronx)
Since 2009, I have advocated for the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts competitions in New York. The sport has grown beyond its gory beginnings into a respectable sports entertainment entity. The economic benefits of regulating professional mixed martial arts in New York would generate almost $50 million on an annual basis. This estimate is based on data extrapolated from an independent economic analysis conducted last fall by HR&A, a consultant that has done work for New York State and City, on potential benefits of holding competitions in the Buffalo and NYC regions.  This estimate is based on a conservative annual estimate of two mixed martial arts events in the New York Metropolitan region and four events in upstate New York. It does not include economic activity from increased training facilities and other related economic activity that would naturally accompany the holding of events in New York.
The HR&A study concluded that $11.5 million would be generated for a single event in New York City and $5.5 million for an event in the Buffalo area. The benefits include direct spending on the event (staffing, food, merchandise and television production), visitor spending (lodging and restaurants) and indirect spending.  Especially importantly in the upstate areas, these events are expected to generate significant lodging and restaurant activity over a two or three day period.  For example in the Buffalo study, a mixed martial arts event would require over 4,000  hotel rooms out of a total stock of 12,000 rooms in the western New York region. The same event would require 300 staff working on the event or the equivalent of creating 57 local jobs.
Mixed martial arts competitions have generated immense economic benefits across the country. For these reasons, I urge the State Assembly, State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo to legalize MMA in NY. Our state needs the eonomic activity genereated by MMA events.
NY Assemblyman Joe Lentol
Stephen: I have voted in favor of the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts - particularly when Legislation moved out of the Committee on Codes (which I chair) for the first time. We all know there are underground events in New York. So, those events should be legal and monitored to ensure that they are safe and that the fighters and the spectators are protected. I think this about says it all. My vote clearly indicates my support on the matter.


MMALAWYERS: Attorneys Specializing in Mixed Martial Arts

January 7, 2011

Dear Mr. Koepfer:
We are writing to express our admiration for your recent efforts in advocating for the sport of mixed martial arts. As attorneys at law striving for the development of MMA in New York, we would like to express support for your MMA NY NOW initiative and your good work moving MMA toward its legalization in New York.

Accordingly, we are pleased to endorse the upcoming rally that will take place on February 8, 2011, inNew York City. This is certainly a great opportunity for MMA fans and MMA professionals to voice their support for sanctioning MMA in New York and attract attention of politicians, media and ordinary citizens.

We believe that by combining our legal expertise, your energetic enthusiasm, and our martial arts background, we could further collaborate on subsequent steps advancing the cause of MMA in our state during this critical year. We are certain that applying more pressure on politicians through our joint efforts, as well as educating them, can yield far better results for the sport of MMA. Please contact us at the information provided below so that we can schedule an in-person or telephone conference.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

Ilya Fayerman, Esq.
Roman Leonov, Esq.

MMA founding father Fred Ettish

To whom it may concern,

Please consider this letter of support in the cause for legalizing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the State of New York.

Allow me first give you a brief background on myself.  My name is Fred Ettish, I am 55 years old, and have been involved in the martial arts since 1969.  I became directly involved in Mixed Martial Arts in March of 1994 as a participant in the Ultimate Fighting Championship 2 at that time.  Since then, I have continued my pursuit of the many benefits and blessings that the martial arts have to offer, including the sport of MMA.  I have sought out and trained with many of the leading practitioners of the sport; coached, trained, cornered, and mentored fighters; refereed, judged, and commentated for several promotions; and remained an avid fan and supporter throughout the growth and evolution of MMA.

I began in the sport of MMA when it was derided as "human cockfighting", "barbaric", "savage", etc., and when people still thought that death in a MMA (then "no holds barred/NHB") match was quite likely.  All of those things have been proven false over the years.  Everything starts from something, and I will grant you that at it's inception in this country, MMA/NHB was very raw, unrefined, and unencumbered by more than just a few rules.  There were no rounds, no gloves, no divisions by weight class, etc.  From that the sport has morphed into a much more refined, athletic combat sport.  Although I do not have quantifiable data immediately at hand, I believe that there are less injuries, especially serious injuries, and deaths in our sport than in most any other.  That is due to the safeguards that have been put into place, and the realities of how MMA is practiced.  

If one takes the time to look closely at MMA on it's elite level, the skill, dedication, fortitude, athletic excellence, and demeanor of the the best of the best is truly amazing.  To rise to the top, one has to have technical excellence in striking arts such as Boxing, Thai Boxing, Karate, etc., grappling arts such as Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Judo, or any other related arts.  The physical conditioning required is second to none.  One needs physical strength, muscle endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, explosive power, and incredible stamina in all areas at the same time.  All of these skills and attributes have to be seamlessly molded together in an intense, fast - paced, and rapidly changing environment.  

Another much overlooked attribute of MMA is what it does for the practitioner's internal qualities.  The most important battle is to not only overcome the challenges your opponent offers physically, but to overcome the fears and obstacles of ones' self.   Incredible stress, fear, anxiety, and adversity must be faced and defeated. He/she must make instantaneous decisions and reactions under some of the most trying and challenging of situations.  I do not like to use the term "warrior", as overuse cheapens such a magnificent title, but in many cases these combat athletes approach warriorhood.  A warrior is not just a fighter, but one who fights with honor, respect, dignity and integrity to him/herself, the opponent, their schools, their teachers, their families, the fans, and society.  Now I will readily admit that there are cases where we fall short, but everyone in every walk of life does.  In MMA you will find people who strive to uphold those principles and represent themselves in these ways as much as possible.

I truly hope that you will strongly consider adding your great state to the long list of those who have legalized Mixed Martial Arts, form a qualified commission from people knowledgeable of the sport to regulate and monitor it, and give your citizens the opportunity to enjoy our great sport as practitioners and fans.

Thank you for any consideration.

Respectfully Submitted,

Fred Ettish
N. Kansas City, MO