FanShot

Saturday Night’s Alright for Secret MMA Fight Club

4

Sen. John McCain thinks of mixed martial arts as "human cockfighting." Former New York Gov. George Pataki once described it as "barbaric." But MMA lured more than 100 people this past Saturday night to a downtown Manhattan gym. They came to watch men slug it out in a secret mixed martial arts cage fight. The rules are simple: No biting. No kicks to the groin. The fighters wear no pads, no helmets and only wrap their hands in thin, four-ounce gloves to protect against broken fingers — caused by brutal hits to the face and head. The goal is to punch and kick your opponent into submission. Yes, chokeholds are permitted. New York is the only state in the nation where MMA fighting remains illegal. But that hasn’t stopped promoters from organizing about six underground MMA fights a year throughout the metropolitan region, according to Jim Genia, who chronicles the underground world of MMA in his book "Raw Combat." The fights are often held in the outer boroughs — at a boxing gym in Brooklyn, or warehouses in the Bronx and once even at a mosque. Every year New York state legislators mull the idea of sanctioning the sport, possibly as a lucrative source of tax revenue. But many in Albany continue to dismiss MMA as too violent. "The politicians are idiots," said Josh James, a New Yorker who took in Saturday night’s fight. "It’s a sport. If it wasn’t, you’d just watch a couple guys go fight behind a bar." Fans like James defend MMA as far safer than boxing. Fighters can "tap out" if they feel defeated, as one did Saturday night, or a referee can call the fight if a fighter is badly injured. The next fight is in December and you’re welcome to watch — if you can find out where.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker