With mixed martial arts (MMA) legalization on the docket in the New York state assembly, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing out the big guns.
New York native Chris Weidman was in the house at the capital building earlier today (where he got some very good news) and so is UFC women's Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who will be helping to plead the case for our beloved sport.
The "Rowdy" one has a good feeling that this year is the year, or at least that's what she told Capital Confidential earlier today.
"I'm always optimistic. I always have really good faith in people that they'll see the value that's in the sport and I really feel like it's bound to happen. The only problem with this issue is just ignorance on what the sport really is and once people become more educated, they'll come around and make the right decision."
Rousey believes that the debut of women on the UFC's roster will only help her as the sport will be viewed as more inclusive to everyone and not just a boy's club.
"I think a lot of the stereotypes involving MMA that it's just for men and it's a testosterone-driven sport is eventually fading out. That's why it's so important that women do it because once it's accepted as normal for women to do, then it's gonna go more through all of society."
With MMA hitting all the big demographics for younger consumers with the advertisers and TV ratings, it's not big surprise that Rousey feels the current debate in New York is more a generational issue than anything.
"It's a lot of the younger generation that really accepts it and loves it and a lot of the more old school train of thought that is having more trouble coming to grips with it and understanding what the sport is. So that's why I say it's just a matter of time before it comes around. The fanbase of MMA is very, very young and the people who oppose it are much older. Eventually, those younger people will be the ones making the decisions. It's more of a generational issue for sure."
For fans new to the sport, MMA can look pretty darn violent, but all it takes some education to really understand the incredible complexities which take place once two people enter the physical chess match of unarmed combat. Rousey believes that you just have to look at mixed martial arts from a different perspective, first looking at the individual sports which encompass it.
"Just the way it looks, it's very jarring and it's kind of a spectacle if you don't know what you're looking at. I have an Olympic background doing judo and everything. Everything I do in MMA is what I did in the Olympics. I was applauded for it and called an American hero for it then but if I put on a different outfit and do it under some brighter lights, all of a sudden "Oh my God, it's so terrible!" It really is the same thing. Everything you can do in MMA, you can do in the Olympics in just separated sports. They're just all put together."
MMA does have a loophole in New York but that has more to do with a lawsuit and third party sanctioning of MMA fights by other athletic bodies. But this would be the real deal if legalization passes through the state assembly. Let's keep our fingers crossed, Maniacs.