Mixed martial arts in New York?

June 16, 2010 8:37:20 PM PDT
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Vitor Shaolin can teach classes in Midtown, but he can't fight professionally in New York State.

"It's my dream to fight in NY, with my students and family to cheer me on," said Vitor 'Shaolin' Ribeiro, a mixed martial arts instructor.

Mixed martial arts events like Ultimate Fighting Championship matches are banned in New York, leaving ultimate fighting fans fleeing the state.

"It's no different than running a marathon, it's amazing what someone's mind can put their body through," said UFC Fan, James Hegyi.

New York is one of just six states in the country that has not legalized mixed martial arts.

Proponents of the plan say it would help raise desperately-needed funds, in the form of taxes on the tickets sold, and draw more tourists to New York.

New York State senators debated legalizing mixed martial arts matches in Albany on Wednesday.

"It's not a sport, it's barbaric in every sense of the word," State Senator Frank Padavan of Queens said.

Millions of people who pay to watch UFC matches would disagree, but there are also plenty of New Yorkers who are happy the state hasn't welcomed the growing trend.

"This bare handed fisticuffs, it's ridiculous they should have gotten over it in the playground," Alison Schiff said.

Tom Kwok 1822 "All you're doing is stirring more trouble, I think it's bad and it's not good for kids," Tom Kwok said.

The bill to regulate mixed martial arts matches passed the senate and has the support of Governor Paterson.

Shaolin is optimistic he won't be restricted to running drills for long.

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