It was February 12, 2011; the IZOD center in New Jersey erupted when Gian Villante took his long stroll to the cage. It was almost impossible to ignore how many “out-of-towners” were there in support of their local hero. Gian Villante graduated Levittown High School in 2004 with an impressive wrestling pedigree and went on to compete in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts earning a professional record of seven wins with two losses.
The many spectators took the LIRR to Penn and then “cabbed it” to New Jersey. While passing right underneath Madison Square Garden, it was hard to ignore how much New Yorkers and Nassau residents alike would benefit from watching a Mixed Martial Arts event in their home state.
MMA has been widely demonized as being human cockfighting. Many of those opposed to it neglect to accept that MMA has become drastically regulated, and packed with rules that protect the participants. It is recognized by 40 state athletic commissions and is broadcasted in 130 countries. So what effect would the legalization of MMA in New York have on Nassau County?
Well, it is hard to miss the abundant amount of Martial Arts Schools peppered throughout Nassau. There are the notorious Serra Brothers with schools in both East Meadow and Huntington, Gracie Barra in New Hyde Park and Commack, and Soca Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Bellmore, to name a few. Each of these local schools has produced Mixed Martial Arts Champions. Thus, the legalization of MMA in New York would undoubtedly increase the revenue these schools generate and pave the way for many more local champions.
The last hope for the passage of a bill that would legalize MMA was made by Governor Patterson. His proposal indicated that legalizing MMA would generate $2.1 million for the state. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass, and the 2011 Budget plan by Governor Cuomo neglected to include a similar proposal. The Mix Martial Arts fans of the community look forward to watching an event in Nassau Coliseum even despite its dismal fate. The benefit to the community both economically and in municipal spirit greatly outweighs the negatives, if any.
By: Scott Gross