BInghamton's first MMA event
1/23/2013 (Updated 1/24/2013 2:35:07 AM)(Source: Jeremy Donovan)
BINGHAMTON -- It's held circuses, commencement ceremonies, and of course hockey games. But for the first time ever, the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena will host an amateur mixed martial arts event on Friday.
You may be asking: didn't New York State ban MMA in 1997? The answer is yes, and no.
"After talking to the New York State [Athletic] Commission they said 'yea you know we're fine with amateur however were not going to oversee it as of now,'" said Jason Porter, Event Promoter.
The law banning sports like MMA is worded to specifically to ban only professional sports meaning the use of amateur fighters is perfectly legal.
"You're not going to get the guys that you see on tv, but you are going to get guys that you will see on tv," said Porter
Due to the violent nature of the sport, there are some that oppose it entirely. But MMA does have a passionate fan base and supporters emphasize the boost the sport brings to local economies.
"The economic impact goes beyond the four walls of this arena.
I goes to people visiting downtown the restaurants downtown, other establishments downtown," said Anthony Capozzi, Arena Manager.
"It will impact the economy because these are great for the local communities, hotels, things like that," said Porter.
Porter has held two other events in the Elmira area and sees the amateur fights as a stepping stone to one day legalizing professional MMA in New York.
State Senator Tom Libous said that both times a bill has been proposed, he's supported it.
"It seems to be that type of sporting event that people are interested in and it raises a lot of money economically, again, I've supported it in the past and would think that if we can get the assembly to support it we could get the governor to sign a bill," he said.
So if that happens, could we possibly see Endicott native Jon 'Bones' Jones fight at the arena?
According to Capozzi: "We would always be open to any legal events that wanted to come in any rent our venue."
In a written statement Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo says that legislation to legalize MMA has not been introduced this year. But there is discussion on a bill that she will co-sponsor.
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