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At long last, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is finally coming to New York after a longheld ban on sanctioned professional mixed martial arts in the state. New York governor Anthony Cuomo signed a bill into law in April that legalized MMA, the final state to do so. Better late than never. The UFC will celebrate by bringing arguably the grandest card in mixed martial arts history to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. The top of the UFC 205 event will feature three title fights, an extreme rarity for the UFC. Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez will defend his belt against featherweight champion Conor McGregor, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will put his title on the line against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will attempt to defend her title against fellow Polish striker Karolina Kowalkiewicz. History could be made as Irish superstar McGregor will look to become the first…

The non-indictment of a policeman who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice sprung the BlackLivesMatter movement anew in Washington Square Park tonight. As marchers from NYCRISEUP4TAMIR braved the sleet down Broadway protesting police brutality and systematic racism, the movement’s supporters agreed that the string of injustice since the Mike Brown case has hit a new low. “It is not okay,” Jawanza James Williams, an organizer for the youth activist group, Vocal New York, said. “To not even consider the fact that the state-sanctioned murder of a child, of twelve year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, is not racial. Because had that child been a white child, I guarantee you that at least three seconds would’ve been given to ‘put your weapon down,’ or ‘stand still’ or ‘freeze.’” The shooting had taken less than three seconds. “Even if the gun wasn’t real,” said Benjamin, a government worker who would not give…

When a tree falls in the middle of the forest, most people won’t hear its thump. when a different tree in that forest jumps up and blocks seven shots in his 14th career NBA game, basketball fans and analysts conjure up nicknames like Shaq-Zingis. The New York Knicks snagged Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3-inch 20-year-old big man out of Latvia, off the board during the 2015 NBA Draft last June as the fourth overall pick. Averaging 13.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and a block and a half per game, Porzingis is present on rookie leaderboards in several stat categories since the season’s commencement. From the franchise’s point of view, however, the most riveting numbers this season lie in the standings, and a healthy chunk of the Knicks’ improvement from last year’s forgettable 17-win turnout can be credited to Porzingis’ performance on the low block. For multiple seasons, New York has driven their…

Mixed Martial Arts is preparing for one of its biggest bouts in a long time: the battle for the legalization of professional fights in New York. The Ultimate Fighting Championship and other promotions were banned from hosting events in the state in 1997 and New York is currently the only state that hasn’t legalized the sport yet.  Amateur fights are legal, however. For the sixth year in a row, the legislature’s upper chamber voted in favor of legalizing MMA, 47-14.  The state assembly now has to pass the bill  for MMA to be legally recognized in New York. To get that far, the bill must pass through the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development, Codes, then Ways & Means and finally Rules. That may seem like a tall hurdle but UFC officials are cautiously optimistic that 2015 may be the year. The new Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie (D-Bronx),…

Last year the story of 29 year old Brittany Maynard swept through the country, introducing many Americans to the Death with Dignity Movement. Maynard, who passed away on November 1, caught America’s attention with her videos posted on YouTube documenting her final months and her advocacy for Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. Maynard was not alone in her fight for assisted death; in New York, others fight on for the right of terminally ill patients to choose to die on their own terms with a prescription from their doctor. In February the New York nonprofit End of Life Choices New York, along with several doctors and three terminally ill New Yorkers, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan against state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seeking to legally disassociate a doctor’s aid in death of the terminally ill from aid in a suicide. If successful doctors would be shielded from prosecution for prescribing…

If only all football fans could understand the pain and anguish of following such a poorly run franchise.  The Jets, notorious for draft-day blunders, butt-fumbles and mediocrity, often give fans little reason to be optimistic.  What else makes life difficult for the typical Jets fan?  Well, for starters, ticket prices are extremely steep. Fireman Ed is gone.  You can’t buy jerseys to support your favorite team because you know it will diminish in value over the next few years when the player on the back is traded or released.  The list goes on, the Jets never ceasing to amaze fans with a new level of disappointment.  Yet, the average Jet fan, more so than any other, has a reason to be optimistic.  Why?  It’s just the Jet way, and only a Jets fan can understand that. The Jets come into the season with a new head coach and general manager.…

Islanders (Michael) There are several reasons why the Islanders are the better team than the Rangers when it comes to hockey in New York, both currently and historically.  While the teams are neck and neck in the standings right now, it’s not farfetched to think the Islanders will win the division when the season is said and done and do some damage in the playoffs. To start, the Islanders have one of the best players in the NHL on their team, John Tavares, who is better than any player the Rangers have on offense, despite Rick Nash being near the top of the league on goals.  The Isles captain has a very good chance of winning the Hart Trophy for the NHL’s MVP, and the Art Ross for leading the league in points. The team is continuing to win without their second best forward, Kyle Okposo, who had surgery on…

Mets (Michael) Spring training is underway, which means regular season baseball is right around the corner. The Mets will be looking to have a better campaign than the Yankees and they have a very good shot to do so. The Mets not only have a better starting pitching staff than the Yankees; they have one of the best in the league.  The Mets’ ace, Matt Harvey will be coming back from Tommy John surgery to reunite with other young studs like Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese, as well as Bartolo Colon and last season’s Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom.  That doesn’t even include Dillon Gee, as well as prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. I’ll take that pitching corps any day over the aging CC Sabathia, injury prone Michael Pineda, the underachieving Ivan Nova, Nathan Eovaldi and journeyman Chris Capuano.  They do have a gem in Masahiro Tanaka though…