Monday, 17 March 2014 23:27
(Pic courtesy of NYFE)
Although MMA is legal in just about every other state, New York still prohibits professional mixed martial arts events from taking place. Despite the state having two UFC champions, Jon Jones and Chris Weidman, NY politicians have shown a stubborn unwillingness in allowing the sport to flourish in Jones' and Weidman's home state. But all is not lost for NY fans who want to see live mixed martial arts action without having to travel out of town. Because the New York Fight Exchange has stepped up and begun putting on amateur MMA bouts, which are not banned under NY state law.
Last Saturday, March 15, the NYFE put on their second event. This show, dubbed The Ides of March, took place at the Amazura Concert Hall in Jamaica, Queens. And like the first event, the venue was packed with eager NY fight fans who were treated to an amazing night of action. Promoters Tom Sconzo and Mike Washington, in only their second NYFE event, showed everyone who is boss when it comes to providing MMA to New York fight fans. This event was as professional as they come, and the Amazura was rocking as the fighters left everything they had inside the NYFE cage.
There were two titles on the line at The Ides of March. In the co-main event, challenger Rob "Hurricane" Scotti took on NYFE champ Felipe Carlos. After a brief but vicious exchange on the feet, the fight went to the ground where Scotti worked for a heel hook. As Carlos tried to roll out of it, his foot popped and, despite refusing to tap, the ref jumped in and stopped the contest. Neither Carlos nor the crowd was happy with that decision, but the referee's job is to protect the fighters, and so it is really tough to argue with the stoppage. Carlos was offered a rematch for the June 7 show, but he might be turning pro instead, and we'll have to wait and see if this rematch happens. Still it was an impressive performance by the new champion, and I look forward to see him back in the cage in June.
In the main event, Bronx fighter Jerome "The Bull" Mickle continued his dominant reign as NYFE welterweight champion. After being mounted by the very tough challenger, Jonathan "The Don" Lopez, Mickle reversed the position and started landing bombs from inside Lopez's guard. After several big shots landed flush, the referee jumped in and Mickle was declared the winner by TKO. It was yet another outstanding performance by Mickle, who moves to a perfect 10-0. Watching Mickle fight is a real treat, and if you haven't seen him in action yet, make sure you come down to his next title defense in June.
All in all, it was a great night of action. The fans in attendance, which included some very special VIPs, were more than satisfied by the end of the evening. And it was a personal pleasure for me to be able to ring announce in my home state. It was also great to see so many members of the MMA media in attendance. The NYFE is already a big deal, and it's only getting bigger.
It's interesting to note that while the UFC has been lobbying New York to legalize MMA for years now, all the lobbying in the world can't do what Mike Washington and Tom Sconzo did with the NYFE. These two pioneers have shown the world--and especially the NY pols--that NY MMA events can be run safely, smoothly and with the utmost professionalism. And they've only just begun. They deserve all the credit in the world for braving many obstacles faced by anyone putting on MMA events in NY, and overcoming them all. Albany, please take note.
For more info on the event, including upcoming video and pictures, visit the NYFE website. You can also follow them on Facebook. The next show is June 7, so get ready! Because the NYFE and MMA in NY are both here to stay.