Fighters prepare for MMA's Binghamton debut
1/25/2013 (Updated 10:35:25 PM)(Source: Jeremy Donovan)
BINGHAMTON -- MMA is making its Binghamton debut at the Arena Friday night. On Wednesday we looked at the legal process that brought the event into town. In this week's Friday Night Focus we talk to the fighters to see how they've prepared and what hopes they have for seeing the sport grow in New York.
"I've always been a fighter so it's good actually to get out here and for the first time in Binghamton, be able to put on a show like this for everyone," said Kareem Coston, Amateur MMA Fighter making his fight debut Friday
It may not be a Jon "Bones" Jones title fight, but for the first time ever the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena is hosting Mixed Martial Arts. The event will showcase amateur fighters to avoid breaking the New York State law that bans professional MMA fights.
"Obviously the level of talent is very good in amateur but their next step is pro," said Jason Porter, Event Promoter. "You're not going to get the guys you see on tv at this event, but you will get guys at this event that you will see on tv."
The biggest differences between professional and amateur MMA fights are referees will end amateur fights a lot quicker than they would for professionals, the equipment used by amateurs is a lot thicker and safer, and they are more limited in the type of strikes they can deliver.
"We control where we allow the targets to be, with certain techniques. So like, no knees to the face, no elbows anywhere," Porter said.
But having those restrictions doesn't mean the fighters aren't going to give it their all.
"I've been training really hard, I just want to get out there and put it on the line and hopefully put on a good show for everybody," said Coston.
"I've always wanted to compete in New York and at home in Binghamton and just to see that happen when I thought it was completely impossible is an amazing feeling," said Alex Sinprasith, Amateur MMA Fighter.
By entering the octagon in his hometown for the first time -- Sinprasith hopes to change the negative opinion some critics have of the sport.
"We just want to really show that MMA is not just a barbaric sport," he said. "It's something you can bring your family to and enjoy the entertainment and it really is an art form."
Some lawmakers in Albany may not agree. Twice legislation has been introduced and both times passed the Senate before being shot down in the assembly. In a written statement, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo plans to co-sponsor legislation to legalize MMA in New York State.
Sinprasith says he hopes that happens during his career.
"I just want it to be legalized so I can fight in front of my hometown, pro, just once that's my goal. Also Madison Square Garden would be nice,"
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