Cleat Geeks

Let Them Fight! MMA Now Legal in NYC

MMA has finally concluded one of its most strenuous battles. Mixed Martial Arts is now legal in the state of New York. Some people may have not even noticed that there was a war going on that was fueled by nothing more than political ignorance.UFCNYC

We have heard over the years that “cage fighting” was the equivalent of human cock fighting, or gladiatorial combat. While the UFC and many other organizations model themselves after Roman combat, these are far from similar. In my opinion, this is the purest sport on the planet. Advanced drug testing is doing its job to fine tune what is already a hard sport to cheat. There is no chance of being carried by a team, such as Peyton Manning did during the latest Super Bowl. It is impossible to simulate what we see in the cage each and every fight, because what we are seeing is the greatest display of human athleticism. During Tuesday’s vote on legalizing MMA in New York, it was plain to see the naivety of those who argued against it. The sport was being compared to modern day slavery, forced combat, and even homosexual pornography (I am not making this up).

You may not agree with how the UFC chooses to market itself, but it is impossible to ignore such a successful model. I am what you would consider a patient sports fan. I love watching a four-day golf tournament, or the entirety of a baseball game, but a lot of sports fans want instant gratification. That is why MMA and the NFL are so successful in this country and soccer is still finding its place in America. Typical fans are simply too impatient to appreciate 72 holes of golf, or a 0-0 pitching duel. As much as I love both of these aforementioned scenarios, there is nothing like a “Hail Mary” or a last second KO to decide a competition.

UFC-MarkHuntVSfrankMirDuring the last UFC event in Brisbane, Australia, we were treated to a walk-off KO in the main event. Mark Hunt didn’t even allow the fight to last one minute before he planted his fist into the head of former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir. There didn’t need to be any follow up damage, as Hunt, realizing that Mir was completely disoriented, walked away as if he had hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth (a trademark of Hunt’s). These are the moments that UFC fans hope for, but wouldn’t truly appreciate if not for the countless 15 and 25 minute grappling matches that are inevitable on every fight card. It is easy to be spoiled by fancy finishes, but there has to be an appreciation for the grind as well.

Mark Hunt was offered nearly half a million dollars to walk away from the sport, because the UFC felt they no longer needed the KO artist on their roster. Hunt showed in Brisbane that the sport still needs overweight, heavy-handed brawlers in the heavyweight division. Dana White, being backed into a corner, did the smartest thing he could. When grizzled veterans refuse to walk away from the sport, don’t put them up against a 22 year old up-and-comer, put them in the cage with another past-his-prime fighter like a Frank Mir. There is no pleasure in watching Shogun Rua being slaughtered by Ovince St. Preux, but when Shogun fought veteran Dan Henderson, I was on the edge of my seat.

UFC-Ronda-Madison-square-gardenI feel as though some very great things are in store for the sport of mixed martial arts. Of course we are seeing a lot of stars fall in the octagon (Weidman, Rousey, Holm, McGregor), but isn’t that why we watch in the first place? How fun is an NBA season where one conference runs the league, and half of the teams are irrelevant? How impressed were we with the AFC South winning Houston Texans? Mediocrity shouldn’t have a place in sports, and it surely doesn’t in the cage. It doesn’t take long to expose posers with 4 oz. gloves. MSG may not be available for use by UFC 200, but that doesn’t mean that the first UFC event in New York won’t be one of the biggest fights in MMA history. I am looking forward to many New Yorkers, veterans, and champions to be featured when that event finally takes place. We can speculate all day, but one thing is for certain, MMA took quite a leap this week.

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