Posted at: 07/14/2013 7:20 PM
Updated at: 07/14/2013 7:57 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion
Are you a mixed martial arts fan?
It's a sport that has become increasingly popular in the last few years.
If you're wondering why you haven't really seen any fights in our area, it's because it's not legal in New York State. In fact, New York State is the only state that won't legalize it.
In case you're not familiar with MMA, it is a full-contact sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques from a variety of combat sports.
Some people say it's down right violent and dangerous.
But advocates say it has the same level of violence as any other sport and New York State is losing revenue by not allowing it.
News10NBC went to the first ever outdoor showcase in the state this weekend.
These fights have filled stadiums across the nation for several years now. According to ESPN, the sport has brought in millions of dollars to almost every state in the nation, all except for our state.
Promoters say New York is missing out on some serious revenue.
The first ever outdoor amateur MMA fight took place this weekend at Frontier Field.
Organizers say the intention was to have the first sanctioned event in western New York, but since it didn't pass in the assembly, it's the first sanctioned amateur event in this area.
More than 100 MMA fans made it out to the fight. Promoters say that if more popular fighters were allowed to grapple in the state, the turn out would mean lots of money for our area.
Organizers still treated this as if it was a professional fight. They pulled some of the refs from different states and adapted many of the rules that are followed in other states, including having paramedics on hand the entire time.
Many say the sport is misunderstood and should be something kids of all ages can enjoy.
“It's economically sound. I mean, it will bring revenue to New York, so it's a tough pill to swallow that we're having to settle for an amateur. But needless to say, we're going to put on this production as if it was a professional,” said Mercedes Vazquez, CEO of Pretty Girl Productions.
“A lot of people say this is a violent sport and they don't necessarily want their children or anybody experiencing that. What do you say to people like that? Do you understand why people might not want it in New York State?” asked News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion.
“I do understand it, but it's the same impact you may see in football. It's the same kind of contact. I think that with this scenario here, we have doctors and we have officials that are close by so that if things get a little uncomfortable, they will stop the fight. I think it's a matter of educating those that are out there that are concerned about this sport to say, you know what? This may be one of the safer sports,” said Vazquez.
Organizers say they know for a fact that fighters have gone to other states, taking a lot of revenue with them.
Lawmakers will look into allowing MMA fighting in New York State in 2014.