MMA supporters gather in Albany - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

MMA supporters gather in Albany


ALBANY, N.Y. - "It was the best thing that ever happened to me as far as discipline and self respect and competition," said UFC fighter Ryan LaFlare, who says his passion for wrestling and martial arts started at 6-years-old.

A dedication to the sport that hit him young, similar to 11 and 12-year-old brothers Trent and Caleb Svingala.

"Not only do they do wrestling but they have done martial arts for five years. It started with karate and now it is jujitsu," said their father, Thomas Svingala.

Tuesday, this next generation of martial artists watched intently as some of their heroes showed them the tricks of the trade.

"Now there are these athletes becoming super stars and it gives me motivation too because there are kids looking up to me," said LaFlare.

But if these kids want to actually look to them on any sort of official stage, it isn't going to be in New York.

Albany County District Attorney, David Soares, a fan of MMA himself, is even weighing in.

"After college there is no place to compete, so if MMA goes professional it provides kids a place to compete and make a living as professional athletes and it is benefiting everyone all around," he said.

The bill legalizing MMA in New York is currently sponsored by 64 lawmakers.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says there is no timeline, as of now, to when it could be brought to the floor for a vote.

But as that date looms, those supporting it are doing all they can to keep the issue alive.

"I will do this as long as I can help out and get this thing legalized and change someone's life and make a difference," said LaFlare.

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