Saturday night’s alright for secret MMA fight club (PHOTOS)

Two fighters duke it out in the cage Saturday night at an undisclosed location.

Sen. John McCain thinks of mixed martial arts as “human cockfighting.” Former New York Gov. George Pataki once described it as “barbaric.”

But MMA lured more than 100 people this past Saturday night to a downtown Manhattan gym. They came to watch men slug it out in a secret mixed martial arts cage fight.

The rules are simple: No biting. No kicks to the groin. The fighters wear no pads, no helmets and only wrap their hands in thin, four-ounce gloves to protect against broken fingers — caused by brutal hits to the face and head. The goal is to punch and kick your opponent into submission. Yes, chokeholds are permitted.

New York is the only state in the nation where MMA fighting remains illegal. But that hasn’t stopped promoters from organizing about six underground MMA fights a year throughout the metropolitan region, according to Jim Genia, who chronicles the underground world of MMA in his book “Raw Combat.”

The fights are often held in the outer boroughs — at a boxing gym in Brooklyn, or warehouses in the Bronx and once even at a mosque.

Every year New York state legislators mull the idea of sanctioning the sport, possibly as a lucrative source of tax revenue. But many in Albany continue to dismiss MMA as too violent.

“The politicians are idiots,” said Josh James, a New Yorker who took in Saturday night’s fight. “It’s a sport. If it wasn’t, you’d just watch a couple guys go fight behind a bar.”

Fans like James defend MMA as far safer than boxing. Fighters can “tap out” if they feel defeated, as one did Saturday night, or a referee can call the fight if a fighter is badly injured.

The next fight is in December and you’re welcome to watch — if you can find out where.

Boxing, the real danger?

“When I talk to someone who’s been boxing for a long time, sometimes they can’t really talk — they’re always getting hit in the head,” said fighter Jonathan Figueroa, who won his match Saturday night. “But in MMA, I could get hit in the arm, the legs. It’s much less dangerous.”

MSG the goal

Peter Storm has been promoting underground MMA fights in New York since 2003. “Hopefully what I do gives people the courage to step up and say to Albany, “‘This should be going on at Madison Square Garden,’” Storm said Saturday.  metro/cb 

All photos by Emily Anne Epstein/Metro



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…