I went to the MMA World Expo last Sunday and it was pretty much the only MMA event (aside from the random UFC book signing or press conference) in the New York City. It is such a shame that New York is one of very few place left in the world where MMA is still illegal. It has grown from the “bloodsport” roots and in fact there are studies that show MMA is one of the safer sports out there compare to say boxing or football.
The Future of MMA in New York Panel. One of the more interesting things brought up is the main argument to legalize MMA in NY is the tax dollars it would bring and that argument just doesn’t come across well to outsiders. When it is worded as legalizing a “bloodsport” for a few bucks, yea I won’t support that either.
Randy Couture and Matt Serra were the biggest names at the expo. Randy Couture auto was $55 and the Matt Serra’s line was super long (the longest line in the event by far and I wanted a good spot to watch the STS Challenge). I have a Couture auto already and I am not the biggest fan of Serra (although I heard he was great with the fans) so no big loss.
I did manage to get one auto and it is the one I wanted the most, Eric Esch aka Butterbean! In fact I was considered buying or trading for a signed glove a couple of weeks ago but the guy valued it at $65 which was a tad high (I value it at $30 tops) and I later saw that he was signing at the expo. Don’t let his looks fool you. He packs some serious power and surprising quick with his hooks.
One of the new addition to the MMA World Expo was the STS Challenge which is a like a deconstructed MMA fight. MMA is illegal in New York but its parts (boxing, muay thai, BJJ, wrestling etc) are all legal (which never made sense to me) so the STS Challenge is one round of muay thai, one round of takedown wrestling and one round of no gi submission wrestling. The fights were very entertaining and absolutely the closest you can get to MMA in NY. I say the experiment worked out very well.
If I had to offer one bit of criticism about the event is that the STS finals ended as the show floor closed. So all the stands were packing up as the fights were wrapping up which I think is a missed opportunity. STS Challenge is the main draw so most in attendance were watching the finals for say 3-5 and as they disperse I am sure most wanted to walk the floor just one more time and just maybe pick up something. But all in all it was a great event. Well organized and I am sure the MMA World Expo would explode in attendance once MMA is finally legalized. I look forward to it every year.