The United States has long been known as the “Land of Opportunity” and the gateway to that opportunity has been New York City.

Nowadays though, the inability of politics to push society forward has limited and crippled that sense of opportunity. In New York, the things that are wrong with politics are made blatantly obvious in the form of stopping mixed martial arts from entrance into the state.

It has long been a big topic amongst MMA fans, particularly those on the East Coast. Each time the state decides to vote on something that has little or no effect on anything, the fans are left scratching their heads. Why is the state holding out on this sport?

Between New York’s State Senate and the Culinary Union, the sport has had trouble getting into one of the biggest markets in the world.

Being from New Jersey and visiting New York, I’ve always loved the state no matter where I went. Whether it be spending a brief amount of time at Hofstra University or visiting the greatest city in the world, New York has always been something special to me.

Mixed martial arts would help the state out economically with the amount of events the UFC would do. Imagine an event like UFC 100 as the first event in New York since 1995. Just think of it taking place at Madison Square Garden and the amount of people that would file into New York from all across the East Coast and even the rest of the country. It would be a huge event for the state and you just know that the UFC would bring out the big stars for the first card in New York City.

The UFC has even done it’s research on just how much money it would pump into New York with the estimates ranging into the hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s a staggering sum that could help a struggling northern New York economy and help further build New York City into the sports capital of the world.

Now with Connecticut and Canada legalizing the sport, it leaves New York all alone. The biggest sports market in the world is the last front stopping MMA.

The Culinary Union’s hold on New York shows that New York is like the rest of the country—if you have the money, you can certainly hold a state politically hostage.

Thanks to the non-union Station Casinos owned by the Fertitta brothers all the way out in Nevada, the state of New York suffers. The Culinary Union’s hatred of the non-unionized casino holds a state hostage and stops a state that could desperately use the money that would be pumped in from a UFC event—or even just another MMA event in general.

New York needs to look out for the best interest of their people, not the Culinary Union’s.

The UFC has tried everything so far to no avail. Whether it be taking the state to court or pressing the state to overturn the ban on MMA, it just hasn’t been successful. The only thing that is left is to have a change of heart in the New York political machine.

While the concerns of brain injuries certainly doesn’t help the situation, sports like football and hockey are legal. Football alone has shown it’s struggle to eliminate head injuries and even boxing—another legal sport in New York—has shown it’s link to brain injury. Even Jim Brown, a legendary running back, has come out and said that football has less safety than NASCAR, a sport where you drive a car as fast as you possibly can and has some of the most dangerous crashes you will ever see.

It’s great that the state is concerned over the safety of the participants, but if you chose to get into the sport, you know what you’re getting yourself into. While it can be dangerous if not properly controlled, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The sport has helped me through some dangerous times and without it, I don’t think I would have the confidence or be the person I am today.

So when I sit here and see other places like Connecticut and Canada put politics aside and do what’s right to help their people, it just perplexes me. The greatest state, a portal so many immigrants like my grandparents passed through to reach this land of opportunity, is restricting opportunity not only for the state to make money, or the people involved in the sport to make money, but for the people to follow their dreams and participate in a sport they love so dear.

I know I’ll never get to the big show and fight in the place that helped my family get a foothold in American society, but for the people who would love to fight in their own backyard, in front of their family and friends, the state needs to put aside this asinine idea that the sport isn’t safe enough, and that the Culinary Union is right about MMA. They need to be the one state in America that just says “Hey, we’re going to help our people instead of continuing to hinder them.”

You have an opportunity here, New York, and it’s a golden one.  You can make money and make your constituents happy. Seize the opportunity and legalize MMA, it’s only right.

Photo: The New York City Skyline (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.