Former NYAA Commissioner: MMA’s Changed Rules Changed My Mind About Ban

The biggest news from the MMA world this week was the lifting of the ban on the sports in New York State. A battle that had been going on since the late 90’s finally went the sport’s way as the state legislature voted 113-25 to pass a bill that lifted the ban.

That ban originally started back in the early 90’s when Randy Gordon was the commissioner of the New York Athletic Association. Gordon was horrified by the brutality and limited rules that governed MMA back then and banned it from competing in the state.

Since then, Gordon has gone on to become one of the more vocal leaders in favor of lifting the ban in New York.

Why the change of heart?

“I love combat sports. I love the fighting arts. I know how much goes into it how much conditioning goes into it, how much skill goes into it and when Larry Hazard from New Jersey–he’s still the commissioner in NJ–when he said to the UFC, you can come into my state if you make these changes and adopt these rules,” said Gordon on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney show. “They took out the 12-to-6 elbow, they took out the soccer-style kick to the head and they made it really, less of a street fight.”

Still, to some, it may seem a little odd that a man who once vehemently opposed the sport’s ability to compete in the state, is now one of the leading voices in helping it get legalized. It’s easy to say that Gordon just felt the tides changing as the sport increased in popularity and rode the wave. But, for Gordon, that’s never been a part of his M.O.

“Many of the guys from the UFC over the years¬†that I’ve interviewed, I said to them ‘Do you know that I’m the one who banned it in New York?’ Or they would say to me ‘Hey, aren’t you the guy who banned it in New York?’ They all understood why I banned it. They said you protected us because we’re the ones that are fighting, we’re the ones who could deliver the soccer-style kicks or the 12-to-6 elbows. Or, we’re the ones who could take those vicious punches. You protected us and we understand where you were coming from. But, it’s funny, on my Facebook page I had a few people who said ‘C’mon Randy, you went with the flow. It was not popular back then, so you went with it. Then it became popular and you went with it.¬†Certainly I guess if you want to look at it like that, but if you look at my entire career, I have never gone with the flow. I have gone with what Randy Gordon believes.”

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