Though MMA is still not sanctioned in the state of New York, an amateur MMA fight promoter is going to hold an event this May.

Oddly enough, there are no laws against amateur MMA, and this allows veteran promoter Erik Hebert and the United States Muay Thai Association to bring an amateur MMA show to the state.

The legal ban that prohibited MMA in New York in 1997 allows the USTMA and the World Kickboxing Association to have sanctioned martial arts competition in the state, and according to the letter of the law, by the admission of the New York State Attorney General’s office, amateur MMA is considered “martial arts,” and is therefore legal.

So on May 19, Hebert and the USMTA will present New York’s first sanctioned amateur MMA cage fight event, but will it help MMA’s growth in the state?

MMA doesn’t need New York. In fact, it’s the exact opposite, and if this amateur MMA show generates a lot of buzz throughout the state and gets the backing of the MMA community, perhaps it can show New York how powerful MMA is.

Whether you like the sport, you can’t deny the economical impact that the UFC has on every city it visits around the globe. The last time I checked New York, along with the rest of the United States, could use a little more cash.

The UFC has often brought press conferences to New York to try and regulate the sport in the state, and the turnouts for those press conferences have been outstanding.

If the community can support this local event the same way that they supported UFC, Hebert could turn some heads.

That’s the reward that hangs in the balance, but what comes with reward usually comes with risk, and that’s exactly what Hebert is facing.

There’s a reason why so many years have passed and not one promoter tried to hold an amateur event. Lou Neglia held an amateur event in 2002 called “Vengeance at the Vanderbilt,” and after that event, New York clamped down on the amateur MMA shows in New York.

Local authorities found silly excuses to shut them down like citing obscure zoning regulations, so Hebert will have to avoid that in order to be successful.

Personally, I think this is a great step in getting MMA legalized in New York, and it could only further generate more positive publicity for the sport.

In time, MMA will be in New York, and with Hebert taking a leap of faith, it could come sooner than later.

Photo: Madison Square Garden in New York City (Andrew Clem)

About The Author

Jake Martin

Jake attends Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., where he studies Mass Communication in print and public relations. He is also the sports editor of his school newspaper, The Nicholls Worth. Jake works at the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La. during the summer.