New York may be a land of confusion where Zuffa spars with the State Attorney General over the 1997 ban on professional MMA events while underground and amateur shows dot the landscape, but that doesn’t mean the sport doesn’t have its fans here. And it certainly doesn’t mean that those fans don’t appreciate a good gathering. So it was with the fourth annual MMA World Expo, which took up residence at the Javits Center in Manhattan on Saturday and Sunday, and brought with it a plethora of vendor booths, a jiu-jitsu tournament, FILA-sanctioned fights in a cage, and a variety of seminars and panel discussions. There seemed to be something for everyone, and a person could buy anything from a new pair of fight gloves to a photo opportunity with Nate Diaz to a chilled can of Xyience. Perhaps most important of all, though, was that it was an opportunity to soak up some MMA with like-minded individuals, whether they be heavily-tattooed or clean-cut, depressingly athletic or ardent couch-potatoes. Bummed you missed it? Don’t fret. MMAConvert has got you covered.
Former UFC Lightweight Champ Frankie Edgar taught a seminar on the finer points of kicking ass.
Meanwhile, TUF 17 superstar Uriah Hall was mobbed everywhere he went. Here he is staring down a kid who looked at him funny.
For all his new-found celebrity, Hall is still an MMA fan at heart, and he wanted nothing more than anything to meet Edgar. The two met and showered each other with respect and compliments.
FILA-sanctioned amateur MMA involves headgear and a complicated scoring system. Thankfully, it also involves violence.
One of the panel discussions was “The Future of MMA in New York”. Here’s the view from the stage.
And here’s me, sitting on the panel next to famed referee “Big” John McCarthy, who was around when the sport got banned back in 1997.
Some more amateur MMA action.