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.
You can play or download No Holds Barred here
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The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", by Ian Carpenter
No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:
ONE Fighting Championship
. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com
. Based in Thailand, DARE is a mixed martial arts event where fighters from all over the world compete to become the DARE Champion. DARE is one of the first MMA promotions in Thailand, and has been televised in many countries and online. For more information, go to their web site, at DareFightSports.com
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American Top Team
. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/
The American Sambo Association
, which is committed to becoming the premier association in the U.S. dedicated to the advancement of Sambo. Sambo is a form of sport, self-defense, and combat established in the former Soviet Union during the early twentieth century. For more information, go to ussambo.com