2011 Rally


On February 8th, 2011, the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York held its first public rally in lower Manhattan across the street from New York City's city hall. As the rally gathered in front of Sheldon Silver's district office at 250 Broadway it became clear that the day would be a successful one. The MMA media was there in full force as well as some mainstream media outlets and several film makers.
An event designed to begin addressing mainstream media's negative propaganda and ignorance about our sport, the rally hoped to begin correcting the record in the eyes of the public and for the eyes of our state legislators. The rally location was symbolic as Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly was instrumental in preventing the 2010 MMA Assembly bill from getting to the floor for a vote.

Coalition organizers Stephen Koepfer, Eddie Goldman, and Paula Romero were present as well as several volunteers from New York Combat Sambo who handed out fliers and helped spread the word on the streets. 600 flyers were distributed by MMA students and volunteers. Supporters from several Internet forums such at the MMA meet-up group, the Underground, Facebook, Bullshido, and Sherdog were present. Dylan Wanagiel, Director of Sporting Events for Madison Square Garden was also present. Many passers by who did not have an accurate perception of what MMA is or who did not know MMA was illegal in New York spent time talking with out volunteers and supporters. Several citizens stuck around to listen to our speakers and ask questions.

As we approached 1pm, when the rally's speakers were set to go on, more fans began to drift in. Master of Ceremony for the event was ring announcer and MMA blogger Kevin Garvey, better known as "The Garv". Stephen Koepfer led off the rally followed by legendary journalist Eddie Goldman, top ranked female mixed martial artist Tara La Rosa and MMA Champion and Strikeforce color commentator Frank Shamrock. A surprise conclusion to the rally was the sudden appearance by Strikeforce and K1 Champion Alistair Overeem.

Alistair Overeem

The event clearly demonstrated that there is in fact a grassroots movement building and the New Yorkers want Mixed Martial Arts legalized and regulated in their home state. The rally was historic in the MMA community.

The Coalition wants to sincerely thank everyone who came out to volunteer and make this event happen!

Here is what the press is saying about our event:

Metro NY Covers the Rally

Alistair Overeem covers the Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY Rally in episode one of his documentary series "The Reem"

New York MMA: An underground story. By Josh Gross of ESPN

The Fight Show with Mauro Ranallo: 2/9/11 episode. Shamrock talks about Rally.

US Combat Sports: Alistair Overeem Says a "New King in Town" at New York Rally

The Garv: NYC Rally, Rousing Success

The Garv: Alistair Overeem at NYC MMA Rally

The Garv: Frank Shamrock at NYC MMA Rally

No Holds Barred with Eddie Goldman covers the Rally (including Goldman's speech and interviews with LaRosa and Overeem)

MMA Junkie: New York MMA rally a success; Overeem, Shamrock, LaRosa stump for legislation

NY Daily News: Mixed martial arts fans rally to push New York State to legalize sport

Budo NYC: MMA Day in NYC

February 8th rally highlights by the Fight Nerd

The Kristal Heart Show