Fight continues to get MMA legalized in NY
Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:25:52 GMT —
Luis Chalas spends nearly every day in the ring. Sunday night, he was training hard at Clinton Street Kickboxing ahead of a big Mixed Martial Arts match in Ohio next month.
"I just love the sport, I love the training," said Chalas. "I t's one of my dreams."
To live his dream though, Chalas is up against an even bigger fight, trying to get New York to legalize his sport.
Legislation has been kicking around Albany for years and recently passed a key Senate committee. There are still a few hurdles before it's passed but MMA advocates are hopeful they can win over lawmakers soon.
"It's looking really good. Governor Cuomo said if it reaches his desk he will sign it, so we're just hoping and praying we can pass it through," said Michael Walter.
Walter says NY is the only state to ban MMA fighting. Advocates for the sport say it could bring millions of dollars to the cash-strapped state.
"Hundreds and hundreds of fights could be happening on a regular basis, instead, we are pouring that money into other economies," he said. "That money could stay here in New York."
With 12 amateur and 2 professional fighters, Walter travels out of state for matches 2 to 3 times a month. On each trip, he says he spends thousands of dollars between gas, tolls, hotels and restaurants. There are also fees and licenses he needs to pay in order to fight.
MMA has drawn some big critics. Some argue it's too violent. One lawmaker even calling it a human cockfight.
But those who are in the cage say it's a tightly regulated sport and they want the chance to compete in their home state.
"There's a lot of talent, good fighters here in New York. And we're just trying to get some exposure here," said Chalas. "There are a lot of obstacles right now."
Obstacles the MMA community are trying to knock down, as Chalas works toward a win, and a start to what he hopes is a long career.