While it's less than 17 years old, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has already had quite an extensive list of accomplishments and historical moments within its short history. You can now add the date Wednesday June 16, 2010 to that list for not just one, but two reasons. First, it marks the first time ever all four major U.S. MMA promotions will hold live shows within the same week, four shows in five nights. Second, it will go down in history as the day MMA legislation in New York State was passed by the State Senate, though it must go through a couple of more steps before being officially legal and recognized within the state by Governor David Patterson.
It wasn't that long ago that the only time we had to look forward to watching live MMA action was on a pay-per-view telecast every three months or so. Now it's on practically every weekend and with The Bellator Fighting Championships holding their cards live on Thursdays, that makes it twice a week sometimes. Besides the aforementioned Bellator, Strikeforce, the UFC and WEC will all have live important cards this week and weekend.
Leading the way on Wednesday night is the UFC's chief rival promotion Strikeforce. Based out of Northern California, they make their way to the southern part of the state for a fight card in Los Angeles headlined by middleweight (185lbs.) contenders 'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler (17-5 14KO's 1 sub) and Renato 'Babalu' Sobral (35-8 5KO's 18 subs). Although the two will be fighting at a catch weight (195lbs.), this fight should have serious implications within the middleweight division where current champ Jake Shields is currently a free agent testing the open market.
On Thursday night, The Fighting Native American himself Dan 'The Handler' Hornbuckle (21-2 9KO's, 9 subs) goes into the welterweight (170lbs.) finale of Bellator's second season tournament against decorated amateur wrestler Ben 'Funky' Askren (5-0 1KO 3 subs). Two of Bellator's brightest young stars will fight for this year's tourney championship and the right to face-off against current welterweight champion Lyman Good; last season's tournament winner. If this season of Bellator's fights is any indication, this fight could be one of the best of the year.
A break on Friday brings us to Saturday where the industry standard and big boy on the block, the UFC, will hold their own tournament championship as the finale to their reality television show 'The Ultimate Fighter' will take place live from their home base in Las Vegas, Nevada. The finale features two of the more promising fighters on the show with Court 'The Crusher' McGee (8-1 2 KO's 3 subs), representing Team Liddell, taking on Kris 'Savage' McCray (5-0 1KO 3 subs) of Team Ortiz/Franklin. I see bright futures for both of these fighters within the UFC.
Capping off this monumental week is WEC, which holds a historic card of their own as they travel outside of the United States for the first time ever in the history of their organization for WEC 49 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Always exciting and never disappointing the WEC headlines on Sunday with former lightweight (155lbs.) champion Jamie 'C-4' Varner (16-3 5KO's 9 subs) as he looks to get back in the title hunt against 'The Prince of Persia' Kamal Shalorus (6-0-1 4KO's 1 sub).
That brings us to New York and Bill No. S2165B, designed to legalize MMA within the State. With over 40 states already in the U.S. where MMA is legal, it has been long overdue that New York not only follows suit, but also leads the way. While eastern cities such as Atlantic City, NJ and Philadelphia, PA have already hosted such events as the UFC, it is paramount that New York City get on board to help MMA in the east be looked upon on parallel ground with its West Coast counterpart. Currently holding a 9 billion-dollar deficit, Governor Patterson realizes the potential revenue the sport can bring as he proposed it earlier in the year. With the State Senate giving it's backing today, we are just a couple of steps away from hearing Bruce Buffer and his famed "we are live from the world's most greatest arena Madison Square Garden" (pictured above). To think just a few short years ago, questions abound everywhere as to whether or not this sport would survive and now we are getting four shows in five nights and are one step closer to MMA in the world's greatest city. MMA continues to make history as it grows.