Events β€” 18 March 2011
Bring MMA to NYC: UFC Rally @ Radio City Music Hall


New Yorkers are rabid about their sports. We have two baseball teams where the opposing fans downright loathe each other. People from other cities despise our teams with a passion due to our inflated budgets and equally inflated egos. But yet there is one sport that New Yorkers are unable to fully embrace, and that is MMA or Mixed Martial Arts. Unfortunately, this is not because we don’t like it- we actually love it. Due to a very old law on the state books, MMA of any kind is banned from live competition within the state. While boxing is sanctioned, the law claims that the sport is too dangerous and has too much liability for injury. The MMA community especially, the biggest player in the game- the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)- wants this law to tap out so they can move into one of the largest sports markets in the country.

The UFC is so serious about this sea of change, they decided to hold a huge rally at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall. Promoter Dana White and the UFC team were also in town to promote UFC 128, which airs this Saturday night on Pay Per View, live across the river from Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. Fans from all over the tri-state area arrived in droves to the Music Hall to support the rally and press conference. The crowds quickly filled into the seats, while sporting press both international and domestic fired up their cameras. We were then greeted with a huge welcome by Dana White, UFC organizer. He pumped the crowd up from the word go.

White has the right to do so because the UFC and MMA in general have overtaken professional boxing by leaps and bounds in regards to the popularity of combat sports. UFC’s Pay Per View numbers and merchandising have killed the boxing game, and to command the ultimate respect, they need to be able to run live events in the country’s largest market. New York State Council member Joel Rivera took to the mic, and pledged his allegiance to UFC and promised to work hard in Albany to end the law banning MMA from performing in the state. The devoted fans agree and, want to see a UFC Octagon invade the legendary Madison Square Garden, and they made their collective voice heard loudly.

The main focus of this meeting of the minds was for a press conference to promote UFC 128, the highly anticipated pay per view event airing this Saturday, March 19th. The men who will make up that night’s card were all in attendance, and the fans made them feel right at home with personalized chants and cheers. The California Kid, Urijah Faber was there to promote his match against Eddie Wineland. Starting in 2006 Faber has been making a name for himself picking up various titles, in World Extreme Cagefighting as afeatherweight. In 2010 WEC merged with UFC, placing Faber, now a bantamweight on the grandest stage of them all. This Saturday he will take on former WEC co-worker Eddie Wineland.

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, will take on Jon “Bones” Jones. Rua, the aggressive fighter from Brazil has an excellent background in Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu making him a dangerous combatant. Rua has said, “The belt is my big dream. It is my life. I trained everyday, very hard for this.” This guy means business, but so does his challenger, Jon “Bones” Jones. The hard nosed and often cocky twenty-three year old from Rochester, NY is hungry for the belt, and makes no bones about it. Jones showed his competitive cocky nature when he was taunted by a fan asking a question during the press conference. The fan asked Jones if he seriously thought he could win. Jones stood up, and brazenly addressed the fan and Rua. His cocky nature was refreshing, and brought me back to the heyday of “Iron” Mike Tyson.

UFC and its competitors are serious athletes that deserve your respect, and the main event match should be legendary. Since boxing has taken a backseat to MMA, its great to see these guys talk trash, but then back it up with some hardcore ability. If you are a MMA/UFC fan or just feel this law is unjust an outdated, please sign the petition to help bring this great sport to NYC. It will both entertain us and help our economy at the same time.

-Alan Smithee

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