Events — 15 November 2010
Ground and Pound: The MMA World Expo Makes Manhattan Tap!

Blog: NYC MMA Expo


The Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side sports 760,000 square feet of open space that serves as the premiere home to New York City’s largest and most intricate conventions. The massive structure features nine self-contained halls, which can accommodate parties and trade shows of any size. While the New York International Auto Show gets much of the publicity every spring, other smaller conventions pack the center over 70 times a year and help contribute to the over 3.5 million attendees of events at the Center annually. On Friday and Saturday of this past weekend, the Center pushed car enthusiasts to the side and gave way to a presentation of Mixed Martial Arts vendors and exhibitions for the 2010 MMA World Expo.

For readers of that may be unfamiliar with Mixed Martial Arts, MMA is a full contact, combative sport that encompasses many diverse techniques of fighting and skill from different cultural and traditional backgrounds. The sport utilizes a combination of striking and grappling techniques in a standing position as well as on the ground. Now that you are fully up to speed, I can continue…

One of the Center’s smaller halls was packed in with fighting enthusiasts, trainees, and fans alike for a glimpse of two full days of MMA competition and vendor tables featuring exclusive deals on training gear, branded apparel, and (100% legal) performance enhancing supplements. The general admission sessions officially opened at 4pm on Friday. Fans could be treated to sessions called “Training with the Masters,” typically hour long sessions with some of the more influential names in MMA (Marcelo Garcia, Jimmy Pedro, and Renzo Gracie to name a few). The Friday session also included a 4 hour amateur Muay Thai tournament, before giving way to the Saturday, full day “Renzo Gracie No Gi Grappling Tournament” featuring 60 different divisions in addition to Absolute Black and Brown Belts.

The autograph sessions were also a tremendous hit with fans, as they were invited to enter the octagon for meet and greets with fighters like Jon “Bones” Jones, Carlos “Natural Born Killer” Condit, Fabricio Werdrum, Dan & Jim Miller, and M-1 competitors Tom Gallicchio, Byron Byrd and Kenny Garner. The daily business sessions, which required a separate pass, provided insight into the business side of the exploding popularity of MMA- from improving media relations, to financial planning needs, to being outfitted with appropriate training gear.

But during our trip around the event space, it was clear that fans of the convention were in attendance for the gear, as some of the most and perhaps some of the least well known brands in MMA, held posts for selling and advertising their merchandise. Knockout Athletics, Sadistic Athletics, Roman International Fight Gear, Hatashita Sports, and Klutch Wear Inc. all had large crowds perusing their selections of t-shirts, robes, and training gloves, while a silent auction of sports memorabilia and autographs took up some prime real estate toward the back of the room, next to the sizable food court. And our friends at GI Nutrition proudly passed out samples of their original shakes and protein bars, to hungry attendees, while other booths petitioned to bring MMA events to New York City. UFC, for instance, has been unable to run in the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden.

All in all, the convention appeared to be a massive success for fans and vendors alike, as patrons left with merchandise bags filled and smiles across their faces, and the vendors applied a collective rear naked choke to this reporter, until I tapped out. For more information on what you missed of the convention, check out!

- Jane Van Arsdale

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