Friday, April 4, 2014

More of the Same for NY MMA in 2014

Honestly, there is not much news to report from the NY MMA battlefield since my February update. But there is of course, some minor news and tidbits to report. As usual MMA Journalist Jim Genia is on the scene.

Check out his latest report on the further developments of the Zuffa, et. al, vs NYS federal lawsuit targeting the constitutionality of the NY MMA ban (Click here for some history on the suit). If we are to get Pro MMA in New York this year, I feel this suit is our best shot.

For a solid sitrep of the perpetuating legislative cycle that New York is stuck in regarding the pro MMA ban, here is Jim's latest: The UFC, the Culinary Union and the Battle for New York.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2nd Annual ABC approved MMA Judge Course: Report

Yesterday, the Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY held it's second annual Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) approved MMA judge course with Robert Hinds, veteran MMA official and only one of eight people approved by the ABC to offer the course.

Last year's course was held in Long Island, NY. This year, the class was held in the heart of Manhattan at New York Combat Sambo; the first time an ABC approved MMA official's course has ever been hosted in New York City.

Over a dozen attendees came to the gym turned classroom to participate. Included among the students were current and aspiring MMA judges, fighters, coaches and journalists. We were honored to have newest member of the New York State Athletic Commission, John Signorile in attendance for part of the course as well. The Commissioner's presence was critical and motivational. Mr. Signorile was extremely supportive of bringing pro MMA to New York and learning as much as he can about the sport in order to help do so.

Also in attendance was legendary MMA journalist and author Jim Genia who wrote a fantastic review of his experience in the class for his MMA Journalist Blog.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Battle Begins Again...Battle Begins Again...Battle Begins Again for MMA in 2014

2014 is here and so is the 17th round of fighting for regulated pro mixed martial arts in New York. Yes, yes...we are the last place in all of North America where the sport is still prohibited. You actually can time travel! Just visit New York and you will be given an opportunity to get a taste of 1997...over and over again.

Here are some recent stories from January regarding our great state's idiotic ban on pro MMA:

FightLine in the Field: UFC Presser in Albany – 1.28.14
By Jim Genia 
January 29, 2014 (Fightline)

MMA Rally for New York Legalization
By Keeler in the Morning 
January 29, 2014 (WIBX 950am)

By Matthew Dondiego
January 29, 2014 (Legislative Gazette)

January 28, 2014 (MMA Junkie)

MMA tries again to KO ban in NY
By Joseph Spector 
January 28, 2014 (Albany Watch)

Mixed Martial Arts Fight Begins Anew In Albany
By Ken Lovett 
January 28, 2014 (NY Daily News)

By Autumn Ziemba
January 21, 2014 (Sci Fighting)

By Jimmy Vielkind
January 17, 2014 (Capital Pro)

January 8, 2014 (MMA Frenzy)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Poll: Rising support for MMA in NY

From Capital New York:
ALBANY—Support for mixed-martial arts fighting has increased among New Yorkers over the past six years, according to poll commissioned by Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest MMA league.
A Global Strategy Group survey, which was provided to Capital, found 45 percent of the 800 New Yorkers surveyed support the sport, compared to 28 percent who register opposition. That's up from 2007, where a differently worded question found a near-even 41-39 split. Half of the voters surveyed said they had seen a UFC event, and support rose when respondents were told it is legal in 49 other states...

Read the entire article here

New York's Own Dave MacLean On Inside MMA

Dave MacLean, owner of Mac's MMA (one of the best NY MMA resources) and Matchmaker for Gladius Fights has been a longtime and HUGE supporter of the fight for regulated professional MMA in NY. We are very glad to see him getting out there on the airwaves!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

CHOKE ARTIST: NY MMA Oriented TV Drama in Pre-Production and Needs Your Support!

CHOKE ARTIST is a contemporary action drama television series centered on a young New York mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter’s tumultuous rise from gym rat to elite professional fighter in a state where his chosen profession is outlawed. CHOKE ARTIST follows our protagonist as he clashes with police, shady politicians, crooked promoters, and underground fighters in an attempt to break out of the city, where he is considered a criminal, into the world’s biggest professional MMA organization. 

Buzz is really starting to generate around this scripted television series project and production companies affiliated with both cable networks and original web series have shown interest. Things are moving pretty quickly. MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and as you can imagine, a first of its kind scripted series exploring MMA’s explosive introduction into the mainstream has generated significant interest. We, the producers of CHOKE ARTIST, have scheduled the filming of a sizzle reel/pitch trailer on location in New York City at the request of interested parties. 

We are excited about our cast, featuring UFC lightweight and The Ultimate Fighter Live finalist Al Iaquinta and blockbuster-action film actor Vlad Koulikov alongside a talented group of New York actors who stood out at the packed CHOKE ARTIST casting event. We have some pretty sweet cameos for the sizzle lined up as well.

With our locations locked in, the next step for CHOKE ARTIST is to gather funds to cover production costs and give our director of photography and his crew the budget and gear needed to make this sizzle look bad ass, simply because it’s the only way to do the east coast & New York MMA scene justice.

Also please know that the premise of the script, the current fight to legalize professional MMA in New York (the only state in America where it remains illegal), is one CHOKE ARTIST believes in wholeheartedly. The writer and producers attached have fought, trained, and coached all over the state and country. Among the countless highly regarded MMA fighters New York produces, 2 currently stand as reigning UFC World Champions (Chris Weidman and Jon Jones). Former UFC Champion Frankie Edgar also got his start in the underground NY fight scene. Former Bellator Champion Lyman Good hails from New York City. Former UFC Champion Rashad Evans also has his roots in New York. The home office of the original UFC was right in Midtown Manhattan! All that stands between Jones, Weidman and the revival of Madison Square Garden as the fight mecca of the world, from which they could defend their belts with the support of a home-town-crowd, is an antiquated NYS ban. It’s forfeiting countless millions of dollars in revenue and jobs so many could use. We are grateful to those who choose to fund and help us raise a national awareness and voice for the cause. 

Below you can find links to the project’s facebook page, imdb page and twitter account, where you will find all sorts of cool information and updates about the project’s cast, creator, producers, and fans. You will also find a link to our fundraiser page. Please take a look and consider helping us with this project!

Feel free to contact us through facebook or twitter, it's always great to hear from our supporters and the MMA community. 

CHOKE ARTIST Facebook page
Twitter page @TVChokeArtist
IMDB page



Sean FitzGerald: Writer, Creator, Co-Director
In 2011 Sean graduated from the New School University on the Dean’s list with a Bachelors of Science degree in media studies. One could say Sean double majored in marital arts as he spent much of young adult life competing in amateur wrestling, grappling, golden gloves boxing, and mixed martial arts. In 2008 Sean won a championship belt from an ISCF amateur tournament and also competed in unsanctioned “smoker” exhibition fights in New York. Combining his love for the sport of Mixed Martial arts with his passion for screenwriting and development assistant experience, Sean authored the pilot for Choke Artist based on his in depth research of the sport over the past fifteen years.

Sean currently resides in Los Angeles where he works in the producing and production department of various reality series including The Bachelor, Storage Hunters and Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

Stephen Koepfer: Producer, Industry Consultant
Born in 1968, Stephen is a lifelong New Yorker and martial artist. In 1997, during the formative years of MMA, Stephen had his first fight - just in time for New York to ban the sport all together. An integral part of the New York MMA community, Stephen has operated his Manhattan gym, New York Combat Sambo and trained fighters since 2003. He became an Association of Boxing Commissions approved MMA judge in 2013.

Stephen and his gym have been featured multitudes of martial arts videos & websites, the New York Times, Time Out New York, WWE Magazine and the bestselling books Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts (Jim Genia. Citadel/Kensington, 2011) and Tapped Out: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts (Matthew Polly. Gotham Books, 2011). In 2010 Stephen founded the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York and has become deeply involved in the fight to lift his home state’s ban on MMA. In 2012, Stephen organized and curated the first ever MMA documentary film festival at Madison Square garden.

Recognized for his expertise, Stephen served as a technical advisor for Human Weapon (History Channel, 2008) and the season one finale of Dhani Tackles the Globe (Travel Channel, 2009), where he also appeared as himself. Stephen’s inauguration as a producer came in 2011 with the acclaimed documentary New York Mixed Martial Arts (MMAFilm, LLC, 2011). The film’s success led to interest from Cinematic Right Management, which now distributes the film. Stephen has been in front or or behind the camera in several other independent projects. He earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and a MA from Hofstra University.

Jabari Gray: Producer, Co-Director
Jabari Gray is an attorney, actor, producer, musician and martial artist known for his professionalism, strong work ethic and passion for creativity. His work in television, film, print, music and live performance media can be seen and heard worldwide. Though a citizen of the United States, Jabari was born into a large, extended family of Caribbean immigrants and spent part of his childhood years growing up in Kingston, Jamaica. Jabari has fought amateur MMA and regularly competes in amateur combat sports.

Alexander Jay Iaquinta: Judd Pulaski
Born April 30, 1987, Iaquinta is a native New Yorker and Professional mixed martial artist (7-2-1). Fighting since 2009, Iaquinta has made a name for himself fighting for the New Jersey based Ring of Combat promotion and later his appearance and finalist status on The Ultimate Fighter (FX, 2012), where he went undefeated. Alexander is currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), fighting in their lightweight division.

Iaquinta’s struggle and rise to fame is not dis-similar from Judd’s and will bring significant authenticity to the role. He made his start in the nebulous New York amateur fight and combat sport circuit until his time came to turn professional. At that point, like all New York MMA fighters, he crossed the river to new Jersey; Professional MMA having been outlawed in New York since 1997. Alexander’s own life experience in tandem with his familiarity with on camera experience from The Ultimate Fighter make him the perfect choice to play Judd Pulaski.

Paul Sheehan: Transplant
Hailing from Ireland, Paul is currently based in New York; having worked in numerous film and theatre projects in Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Taiwan during his travels. Recent projects include $upercapitalist (Linus Roache, Kenneth Tsang), Four Assassins (Miguel Ferrer, Will Yun Lee) and a number of incoming independent projects slated for release next year. Trained also in advanced fencing, he is extremely excited about bringing this tale of struggle and sweat to life with the Choke Artist team.

Vladislav Koulikov: Max Povetkin
Vladislav was born in Moscow, USSR, December of 1974 and began his Martial Arts journey 10 years later at the most prestigious Sambo wrestling school in the world - Sambo 70. Between 1985 and 1990 he won multiple tournaments in Sambo including, two All Soviet Cups where he took Gold and Silver. After high school, he attended Russian State Social University and graduated with a Bachelors in Journalism.
In 1996 Vladislav moved to New York and began fighting in the then unregulated sport of Mixed Martial Arts. He also won and received the most technical grappler award in the inaugural Grappler’s Quest tournament in 1998. Vladislav has gone on to coach a successful team of his own, Represent the United States at the World Sambo Championships (2008), star in very popular instructional videos, and place in multiple combat sports events.

During the last several years Vladislav has developed a passion and become involved in acting; landing a significant role in Philip Noyce’s action thriller Salt (2010) as Angelina Jolie’s father, Chenkov. Vladislav is currently wrapping up shooting as Pavel in David Leitch & Chad Stahelski action thriller John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves. Like Iaquinta in the role of Pulaski, Koulikov’s own life experience will lend a significant air of authenticity to the role Povetkin.

Luna Tieu: Tora Takami
Luna is originally from San Francisco and earned her masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her theater credits include originating the role of Tess in One White Crow and the British farce, Move Over, Mrs. Markham. She has also appeared in a number of national print campaigns including: Sprint (which led to a Sprint commercial!), Delta, Similac, and IMAN cosmetics and recently shot a Paypal Commercial. When Luna is not in front of the camera or on her yoga mat, she's snapping photos, throwing something away, reading plays and 19th century novels, spending a ridiculous amount of time on youtube looking at cute animals and watching favorite clips of her favorite actors, and exploring New York City. She currently resides in NYC and trains with acting coach Anthony Abeson.

Jonathan Gundel: Ryan Bryan
Jonathan Gundel is a New York City based actor who originally hails from Lancaster, PA. His first stage was the dinner table, but his first role was as the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz at the age of 8. Since then Jonathan has been passionate about acting. He is a graduate if the Santa Fe institute of Art and Design and most recently appeared in the short film Alone Time, an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival. Jonathan continues ongoing scene study at Michael Howard Studios in NYC preparing for his big break!

Suzanne Milton: Officer Shelly
Suzanne K Milton began her acting career at age 4 as a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. Since then, her most favorite roles have been Hunyak in Chicago, Victoire in Hotel Paradiso and Patricia Meyers in the independent film Stills. She was born and raised in a small south Georgia town and has been living in New York City for the past 3 years. Suzanne also studies the martial art Krav Maga.

Stephanie Taylor: Barmaid

This Texas transplant began her relationship with the stage at the age of 7. She has worked on stage, in film, t.v., commercials, and voiceover from coast to coast. Internationally, she has performed and taught Shakespeare in Florence, Italy. Stephanie earned a BFA from NYU and is a Actors’ Equity Association member.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Feb 22, 2014 - ABC Approved MMA Judge Course - NYC!

ABC Approved Mixed Martial Arts Judge Training
Supported by: Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York
Venue: NY Combat Sambo
Presented by: Rob Hinds - Combat Consulting LLC

If you are a current official, coach, journalist, aspiring official, promoter who wants to bring their event to a higher standard, or an MMA fighter, this course is for you! Get up-to-date judging criteria. Write about and discuss decisions from a place of knowledge. Game plan your fights with more understanding of the unified rules and what judges are looking for. Most importantly, help build the NY MMA community! ABC approved courses like this one are THE ONLY nationally recognized training for MMA officials. This is the gold standard. We hope to see you there!


Registration Information:
$250 fee to pre-register before February 1st
$275 from February 2nd to February 21st
$300 at the door registration

Register via paypal by sending your fee to

You may also register in person at NY Combat Sambo, or by calling 718-728-8054 to register via credit card, or by mailing a check or money order made out to "American Sambo, LLC" to:
American Sambo Association
Attn: ABC Training
PO Box 5773
Long Island City, NY 11105


The class will be capped at 25 people. Places in this class will be reserved on a first come first serve basis UPON RECEIPT OF PAYMENT. Do not delay! Last year's class sold out well in advance of course date.

The training fee includes an 8 hour ABC MMA Judge Training on Saturday, February 22nd from 8am-4pm. Check in will be from 7am-7:45am. Class will start promptly at 8am.

All technical and written exams will be executed by Robert Hinds and the Combat Consulting, LLC staff. Both technical and written exams must achieve a minimum correct score of 80% to pass the course. All passing attendees’ names will be posted on within three weeks of the program date.

Certificates of Completion will be provided for all paid attendees. This certificate does not indicate a passing or failing grade on the exams. It is solely a token of their attendance.