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Saturday Night’s Alright for Secret MMA Fight Club


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.

Jon Jones: Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York


Critics of MMA have claimed different reasons for opposing regulation. But as our millions of fans and anyone who has been paying attention knows, these claims don't hold up. First they said it wasn't a real sport. But MMA is the fastest-growing sport in the world, sets event gate and concession records, and millions watch fights on pay-per-view TV. We are highly trained athletes, Olympians and All-American college wrestlers. MMA has gone mainstream. Fighters appear in ads for Microsoft, and UFC sponsors include the Marines, Harley Davidson and Anheuser-Busch. And it's hard to argue with dollar figures. A recent study found New York regulation would generate $23 million in economic activity and create hundreds of local jobs. Then detractors said it wasn't safe. But we have some of the most rigorous safety standards, drug testing and officiating in professional sports. All that our critics have left to say is MMA is barbaric. It is full of strategy, fluidity. Highly conditioned athletes look for momentary points of leverage and advantage — combining karate, jiu jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing, which can take decades to master. MMA isn't for everyone. But to call it brutal is to misunderstand the sport, its athletes and its fans. We're not masochists, we're college graduates, role models, Olympic champions. We have a greater safety record than the NFL and boxing, and with millions of fans, we are not going away.

Best head kick KO's in MMA history: GIFS


Eddie Bravo solicits the UG to post the best head kick KO's in MMA history. Awesome stuff.

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