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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

No Holds Barred: Stephen Koepfer on March 6 Rally to Legalize MMA in New York and MMA Film Festival 



On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Stephen Koepfer of the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.

It is now 15 years since the state of New York passed a draconian law banning what it calls "combative sports", including mixed martial arts. The 1997 law overturned a law passed just months earlier legalizing and regulating the sport. While MMA has since grown around the world, from Sao Paulo to St. Petersburg, from Beijing to Boston, and from Atlantic City to Abu Dhabi, the sport remains illegal in New York.

The Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York, an independent, grassroots organization, aims to change all that. After a successful rally last year in front of the office of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an opponent of MMA, this year the Coalition will be holding a rally in front of the Manhattan office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has not taken a public position on this issue.

The rally will be held Tuesday, March 6, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, outside Cuomo's Manhattan office at 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10017, between 40th and 41st Streets.

After the rally, there will be the first-ever Mixed Martial Arts Documentary Film Festival. This will take place from 4 PM to 8 PM at the world-famous Madison Square Garden, in The Theater Lobby at 7th Avenue at 32nd Street. It is free to attend.

Three films will be featured, including the world premiere of "In Her Corner: The Inside Story of Women’s MMA", the Manhattan premiere of "New York Mixed Martial Arts", and the New York premiere of "Fight Life". This will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, as well as a mixed martial arts trivia challenge.

We spoke with Stephen Koepfer by phone Thursday about the rally, the film festival, and the ongoing battle to legalize MMA in New York. We discussed the need to continue to educate the public about the sport, how MMA is actually much larger than just one promotion, and much more.

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