Freedom to Fight
As we reported last week, New York is one of the few states where the sport of mixed martial arts is still illegal. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, MMA’s biggest league, has lobbied for years to get this changed so they could hold lucrative live events at venues like Madison Square Garden.
But so far they have had no luck with politics. So today Zuffa, the league’s parent, took a different tack. The UFC sued New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to overturn that state’s 1997 law banning Mixed Martial Arts on the grounds that the ban violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“This is mixed martial arts, emphasis on the arts,” said Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Constituional Law at NYU. “The reason these atheletes are suing is because they have been prevented from their self-expression on some of the biggest stages in the nation.”
It seems that all you need to land in a movie these days is a gym membership that twists and tortures a normal physique into that of Conan the Barbarian, with six-pack abs, a 28-inch waist and obliques the size of hubcaps. The result is usually a load of two-fisted junk; an exciting, well-made testosterone explosion called Warrior is a rare exception. Director Gavin O’Connor knows his way around a sports arena, and Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are two meatheads who can really act.
ALBANY—Assemblyman Michael Benjamin has an idea to help the state through its $2.1 billion midyear deficit: resurrect the mixed martial arts bill.
"It's a barbaric sport," Benjamin, who had opposed the bill, told me by phone. "If we're stuck with these awful deficits, then I think we can use some of those revenues Read More
ALBANY—The 10,000 karate kids slated to come to Albany in support of legalizing mixed martial arts are not coming after all, according to organizer Adam Weiss.
"The whole logistics didn't make sense," he said, noting that most lawmakers are gone from the Capitol, and a large number of people will likely be sneaking out Read More
ALBANY—Not everyone knows that tomorrow is Bruce Lee's birthday, but for fans of mixed martial arts, it's the perfect excuse for a lobbying trip to Albany.
Advocates of the sport are planning a rally here tomorrow that they claim will bring 10,000 "karate kids" to support the passage of a bill Read More