A whole life dedicated
For nineteen years, I have been involved with both Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. At 10 years old, I made an aggressive decision. I was going to dedicate my life to Jiu-Jitsu and follow in the footsteps of those early fighters I watched on my VCR player and illegal PPV box.
Fast forward, eight years later and I’m standing in a ring across from Jim Miller (both of our pro debuts) in Atlantic City, NJ. It was surreal and it was the culmination of my training as an adolescent. After this fight, I dedicated myself completely and continued to purse fighting for eight years, the only issue…MMA WAS BANNED in New York.
This forced me to travel to other states in order to compete. I went on streaks for months and at one point close to a year of not being able to fight because of not being a “Local”. A local that could sell hundred of tickets, fighting ten minutes or one hour from home.
I was traveling anywhere from 3-7 hours to fight. It was taxing. It forced me into retirement. It depressed me. It was sickening to be there, year after year, watching politicians shoot down legislation to UN-ban MMA.
The last few years, Amateur MMA popped up and provided some minor growth, but died off quickly as fighters realized there was NOWHERE to fight in our state. The lack of standards in these events, did more harm than good as well. MMA Athletes in NY State are a DYING, almost EXTINCT species.
I’m watching it firsthand AGAIN…
My long time student and friend, Matt Secor has competed all over the country. TUF 16, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, you name it. He has compiled an 8-3 record and is also 4-1 in his last five fights. He has persevered through the difficulties of not only competing out of state, but having to travel and train out of state.
There is VERY limited training and sparring in our area, due to the fact, fighters RARELY make it. Not because of skill or dedication, but because they get shut out of certain opportunities.
I understand it from the promoters side, “Why would you hire someone who has to travel, sells fewer tickets, and doesn’t have a local following.” I have watched the sport get crippled in Upstate NY. It is sad. My survey to any pro fighter in this area (There are few), ask yourself, how many pros are still at it and still competing? How many live and train local? How many made it to the big stage?
Petition for a LOCAL guy
Finally there is some hope…On December 9th, the UFC is coming to Albany, NY. It is bittersweet for me. I had to give up my career as a pro fighter and I gave up hope, this would happen. I feel this card NEEDS some local talent. I don’t feel this way for selfish reasons (maybe one or two, lol). I feel this way because our community and culture NEEDS to be ignited.
Inspire the future
The top fighter living and training in Upstate NY, is 20 minutes from Albany, his name is, Matt Secor. He is the perfect candidate for this fight card. Having his local star on the event, will inspire a massive amount of local competitors to keep the dream alive. It will help foster hope for the future athlete and competitor in Upstate NY, giving them something to aspire to. I am pleading. MMA training and sparring is disappearing! When there is no one around fighting, nowhere to fight, and there is no inspiration locally, how could it SURVIVE?
Help us do it
We are petitioning and pleading to get Matt Secor on this December 9th, UFC fight night. He deserves it, he has earned it through victories, and now it is a chance to keep the dreams alive for those in my area.
Welterwieght, Middleweight, any weight, any opponent. Matt Secor is ready. Upstate NY needs the ignition. Find Matt on Twitter @secormatthew.
Help us continue this movement. The talent and potential are untapped and this could open the flood gates of future fighters that can say they are from Upstate NY!