How athletes and the sports world are reacting to President Donald Trump

Last Friday night, during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, President Donald Trump said: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that [expletive] off the field right now, out, he’s fired, he’s fired.”

That set into motion a series of actions at Sunday’s NFL games across the country, with some players kneeling or locking arms in a sign of solidarity.

On Monday, Trump’s feud with the NFL shows no signs of abating, with the president tweeting early Monday morning: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”

Athletes and analysts continued to share the opinions on the situation. Below is a collection of comments from stars such as Tom Brady, LeBron James and Drew Brees.

LeBron James

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Magic Johnson

NFL analysts

NBA MVP Russell Westbrook

Wizards guard Bradley Beal

Warriors coach Steve Kerr

Bob Costas

Aaron Rodgers, others after Sunday’s games

Saints QB Drew Brees

Warriors guard Stephen Curry

Patriots QB Tom Brady

Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson

NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Bills center Eric Wood

Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman

Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals

The Yankees, the Mets and 3 MLB games in NYC today

The Yankees host the Royals at Yankee Stadium at 1:05 p.m., followed by the Mets with a doubleheader against the Braves at Citi Field starting at 4:10 p.m.

Game 1: Yankees vs. Royals — Game story | Boxscore

Game 2: Braves at Mets, Game 1, 4:10 p.m. | Boxscore

Tonight: Braves (Fried) at Mets (Lugo), Game 2, Shortly after Game 1 ends

NFL preview 2017

OPENING KICKOFF

The New York football dichotomy for 2017

It’s a case of Giants up, Jets down, but the disparity has never been this great, the gulf never as wide between the two teams. Never. The Giants are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Jets are a stripped-down version of an NFL team. Read Bob Glauber’s season-opening overview of the state of football in New York.

Commissioner Glauber?

What would Newsday football columnist Bob Glauber change about the NFL if he were in charge? Have a look at his five ideas to improve the NFL.

Best of the NFL

Who are the five best players in the NFL? The five best quarterbacks? Defensive backs? Punters? Newsday football columnist Bob Glauber picks the five best in just about every category you can think of as the 2017 season kicks off.


THE GIANTS

Giants’ goal: Fifth Super Bowl trophy

Ben McAdoo made that the unabashed goal when he became head coach last season. The Giants went 11-5 and made the playoffs, all positive steps for a franchise that hadn’t been to the playoffs in four years.

Q&A with Eli Manning

Giants QB Eli Manning sat down with Newsday’s Tom Rock to talk about this year’s team, the 10-year anniversary of his first Super Bowl win, how he might want his career to eventually end and the biggest changes he’s seen in 14 seasons.

Giants’ ends are near

During one of the preseason practices this summer it looked like Jason Pierre-Paul gave up halfway through a pass rush. Established veteran, sweltering grind of camp, little to prove. Who could blame him for coasting for a rep? But that’s not what happened. Read Tom Rock’s story.

The Marshall-Manning connection

Brandon Marshall joked this week that Eli Manning has a lot of work to do if he wants to dethrone Ryan Fitzpatrick as the best quarterback he’s ever played with. Read Tom Rock’s story.

How the NFC East stacks up for the Giants

NEW YORK GIANTS: Last year, GM Jerry Reese addressed the defense, adding free agent difference-makers Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins. This year, he added to the offense with free agents Brandon Marshall and Rhett Ellison and first-round tight end Evan Engram in hopes of helping Eli Manning. The one big if: the offensive line. If that group improves, then this could be a special season. Maybe a Super one.

DALLAS COWBOYS: It was an extraordinary bounce-back season for the Cowboys in 2016 as they went from last to first thanks to the brilliant play of rookie QB Dak Prescott and rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott. But teams that experience a tremendous leap forward one season often regress the next. The Cowboys will be an important test case, especially considering Elliott’s looming suspension for domestic violence. Prescott has shown veteran resourcefulness The defense overachieved last year, and it will have to be more of the same.

DALLAS COWBOYS: It was an extraordinary bounce-back season for the Cowboys in 2016 as they went from last to first thanks to the brilliant play of rookie QB Dak Prescott and rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott. But history shows teams that experience a tremendous leap forward one season often regress the next. The Cowboys will be an important test case for that, especially considering Elliott’s looming suspension for domestic violence. Prescott has shown veteran resourcefulness, so his performance will be the major key. The defense overachieved last year, and it will have to be more of the same for Dallas to make it back to the playoffs.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Carson Wentz was so good as a rookie, the Eagles wasted no time anointing him the starter and trading Sam Bradford. Wentz showed plenty of potential, but he also made his share of mistakes. Wentz should flourish now, especially with WRs Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. On defense, the front seven is among the best, and includes Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham. Cornerback depth is a problem. With a couple of breaks, the Eagles could earn a wild card.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Carson Wentz was so good as a rookie that the Eagles wasted no time anointing him the starter and trading Sam Bradford to Minnesota. Wentz showed plenty of potential in 2016, although he also made his share of mistakes. Now that he’s used to the NFL game, Wentz should flourish, especially with new receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. On defense, the front seven is among the best, and includes Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham. Cornerback depth is a problem. Look for the Eagles to show significant improvement, and with a couple of breaks get in position for a wild card playoff berth.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: It’s a transition year of sorts in Washington, which is one reason Kirk Cousins wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term contract. He lost receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency, although the Redskins hope 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson and Browns free agent Terrelle Pryor can pick up the slack. Jordan Reed is a big-time tight end. Josh Norman is the most recognizable player on a defense that is mostly non-descript. But the Redskins hope new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky can help.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: It’s a transition year of sorts in Washington, which is one reason Kirk Cousins wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term contract. He lost receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency, although the Redskins hope 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson and Browns free agent Terrelle Pryor can pick up the slack. Jordan Reed is a big-time tight end. Josh Norman is the most recognizable player on a defense that is mostly non-descript. But the Redskins hope new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky can help.

Elsewhere in the NFC

Giants 2017 schedule

Game Date Opponent Time Network
Week 1 Sept. 10 at Cowboys 8:30 p.m. NBC
Week 2 Sept. 18 Lions 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Week 3 Sept. 24 at Eagles 1 p.m. Fox
Week 4 Oct. 1 at Buccaneers 4:05 p.m. Fox
Week 5 Oct. 8 Chargers 1 p.m. CBS
Week 6 Oct. 15 at Broncos 8:30 p.m. NBC
Week 7 Oct. 22 Seahawks 4:25 p.m. CBS
Week 8 Bye      
Week 9 Nov. 5 Rams 1 p.m. Fox
Week 10 Nov. 12 at 49ers 4:25 p.m. Fox
Week 11 Nov. 19 Chiefs 1 p.m. CBS
Week 12 Nov. 23 at Redskins 8:30 p.m. NBC
Week 13 Dec. 3 at Raiders 4:25 p.m. Fox
Week 14 Dec. 10 Cowboys 4:25 p.m. Fox
Week 15 Dec. 17 Eagles 1 p.m. Fox
Week 16 Dec. 24 at Cardinals 4:25 p.m. Fox
Week 17 Dec. 31 Redskins 1 p.m. Fox

THE JETS

The right direction?

It’s true that the 2017 season likely promises more grief than anything for the Jets, but if we are to look at the bright side — and after all, isn’t that what preseason is about? — it’s that there might be an endgame to all this misery.

Q&A with Jamal Adams

The Jets took Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft in April, and even though he was slowed by an ankle sprain in camp, coaches are eagerly awaiting the impact the 21-year-old safety will make this season. Adams discussed his first few months as a Jet in a Q&A with Newsday.

Robby Anderson on fast track

Following the release of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and Quincy Enunwa’s season-ending neck injury suffered in early August, second-year wide receiver Robby Anderson moved to the forefront of a young Jets pass-catching corps.

How the AFC East stacks up for the Jets

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: As if winning a fifth Super Bowl wasn’t enough, the Patriots loaded up even more in the offseason by acquiring WR Brandin Cooks, RB Rex Burkhead and LB David Harris. The loss of WR Julian Edelman to a knee injury was a big blow. But the Patriots have won without key players before. With Tom Brady at age 40, they begin as the clear favorites to win it all again.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: As if winning a fifth Super Bowl title wasn’t enough, the Patriots loaded up even more in the offseason by acquiring WR Brandin Cooks, RB Rex Burkhead and LB David Harris. Yes, the loss of WR Julian Edelman to a season-ending knee injury was a big blow. But the Patriots have won without key players before. With Tom Brady playing as well as ever at age 40, they begin as the clear – and justifiable – favorites to win it all again.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending knee injury in the preseason seemed to doom the Dolphins’ chances, but coach Adam Gase convinced QB Jay Cutler to put off his broadcasting plans. Cutler was at his best when Gase was the Bears’ offensive coordinator. This is a team with talent at the skill positions – WRs Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, and RB Jay Ajayi. The defense is solid with ageless Cameron Wake. Miami can contend for a wild card spot.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending knee injury in the preseason seemed to doom the Dolphins’ chances, but head coach Adam Gase convinced QB Jay Cutler to put off his broadcasting plans and play in 2017. Cutler was at his best when Gase was the Bears’ offensive coordinator. This is a team with talent at the skill positions – particularly WRs Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, and RB Jay Ajayi. The defense is solid, with ageless Cameron Wake the team’s best pass rusher. There’s no reason Miami can’t contend for a wild card spot.

BUFFALO BILLS: Rex Ryan’s two-year run ended with a whimper, and the Bills cleaned house further by firing GM Doug Whaley. In come coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and a significant roster transformation. The Bills traded WR Sammy Watkins and CB Ronald Darby, and there will be more moves. QB Tyrod Taylor remains – for now. High-priced DT Marcell Dareus has already run afoul of the new coaching staff, having been sent home before a preseason game. This rebuild is going to take some time.

BUFFALO BILLS: Rex Ryan’s two-year run ended with a whimper, and the Bills cleaned house further by firing GM Doug Whaley. In come coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and a significant roster transformation. The Bills traded WR Sammy Watkins and CB Ronald Darby, and there will be more moves. QB Tyrod Taylor remains – for now. High-priced DT Marcell Dareus has already run afoul of the new coaching staff, having been sent home before a preseason game. This rebuild is going to take some time.

NEW YORK JETS: Woody Johnson will be spending the next few years as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, but before he left, the Jets’ owner ordered a house-cleaning the likes of which we haven’t seen. Ever. The Jets dumped nearly every high-priced, under-performing veteran — Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini and David Harris, among others — and traded Sheldon Richardson to Seattle, leaving a bunch of unproven younger players in their places. With one notable exception: 38-year-old QB Josh McCown starts the season as neither Christian Hackenberg nor Bryce Petty convinced Bowles they were ready.

Elsewhere in the AFC

Jets 2017 schedule

Game Date Opponent Time Network
Week 1 Sept. 10 at Bills 1 p.m. CBS
Week 2 Sept. 17 at Raiders 4:05 p.m. CBS
Week 3 Sept. 24 Dolphins 1 p.m. CBS
Week 4 Oct. 1 Jaguars 1 p.m. CBS
Week 5 Oct. 8 at Browns 1 p.m. Fox
Week 6 Oct. 15 Patriots 1 p.m. CBS
Week 7 Oct. 22 at Dolphins 1 p.m. Fox
Week 8 Oct. 29 Falcons 1 p.m. Fox
Week 9 Nov. 2 Bills 8:25 p.m. NFL Network
Week 10 Nov. 12 at Buccaneers 1 p.m. CBS
Week 11 Bye      
Week 12 Nov. 26 Panthers 1 p.m. Fox
Week 13 Dec. 3 Chiefs 1 p.m. CBS
Week 14 Dec. 10 at Broncos 4:05 p.m. CBS
Week 15 Dec. 17 at Saints 1 p.m. CBS
Week 16 Dec. 24 Chargers 1 p.m. CBS
Week 17 Dec. 31 at Patriots 1 p.m. CBS

BACK IN THE DAY …

…the Giants were the All-Collegians …

On Sept. 9, 1925, New York All-Collegians team secretary Harry March told the lunch crowd of reporters he was “confident that after this season professional football will be a permanent institution in this city.” History has proven March right, even though it took a shaky inaugural season and more lean years in the 1930s and ’40s before the Giants and the NFL took hold of the nation’s sporting culture starting in the mid-1950s. Read Neil Best’s story about the Giants’ first season.

…and the Jets were the Titans

The New York Titans were born in 1959, a charter member of the AFL, fronted by Harry Wismer, an oil executive who in 1953 had been the play-by-play announcer for the first prime-time, national NFL package, Saturday nights on the DuMont Network. They debuted in 1960 and became known as the Jets three seasons later. Read Neil Best’s story about the Jets’ first season.


NFL AND THE MEDIA

Tony Romo gearing up for new career

Newly retired Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo chose the less-comfortable path, because after eight practice games — five in a studio, three in person, none on the air — he is leaping into the deep end of the sports television business.

Here comes Rex!

Rex Ryan, the former Jets and Bills head coach, says about his new ESPN analyst role: “They’re going to have to cut me off. Hey, that’s OK. They told me to be myself, so that’s what I’m going to show up and be. If they cut me off, they cut me off.”

Beth Mowins blazing new trail

Even in 2017, with female announcers increasingly commonplace, Beth Mowins’ assignment for Chargers vs. Broncos on Sept. 11 on ESPN is a significant milestone — the first nationally televised NFL game called by a woman.

Waggles, options and zone reads

With his “Spider 2 Y Banana” calls, “Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden has become the king of football speak. Every broadcast features football terminology you may be familiar with and some classic sport-specific language that will leave you wondering if they rewrote all the grammar rules you learned in school. Newsday’s Nick Klopsis helps explain what some of the terms mean.

Staff predictions

AFC playoff teams AFC champ NFC playoff teams NFC champ Super Bowl LII
Bob Glauber Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, Raiders, Texans Patriots Giants, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, Cowboys, Panthers Packers Patriots

Tom Rock
Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Raiders, Chiefs, Texans Raiders Giants, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Lions Giants Raiders
Laura Albanese Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Chargers, Raiders, Bengals Patriots Giants, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, Cardinals, Cowboys Packers Packers
Neil Best Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, Dolphins, Chargers Titans Cowboys, Packers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Lions Packers Titans
Barbara Barker Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Broncos, Chargers, Raiders Patriots Giants, Packers, Falcons, Saints, Cardinals, Buccaneers Packers Packers
Joe Manniello Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Chargers, Bills, Jaguars Patriots Giants, Packers, Falcons, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Saints Cardinals Cardinals

NFL features


NYSAC and MMA: First-year issues and improvements

Gian Villante discussed two very different sets of hiccups ahead of his fight at the UFC’s Long Island debut on Saturday.

First up, those irritating ones he was unable to shake in the days leading into his last two fights.

The second set, however, belonged to the New York State Athletic Commission, which is in its first year regulating mixed martial arts.

“It’s difficult, they do some things differently, but they’re new at this, so you can’t blame them for having their hiccups in the beginning,” Villante said. “They’re going to have their hiccups in the beginning and stuff like that but they’re still early on.”

NYSAC has made its share of mistakes in these initial months, most notably Daniel Cormier’s towel on the scale trick and the confusion over replay, referees and what’s a legal strike in the Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi fight. But, with each event, things seem to be improving.

New York became the final place in North America to remove its ban on MMA when the State Assembly passed the bill in March 2016. A month later, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the bill at a Madison Square Garden ceremony. In November, the UFC hosted its first New York show at MSG, setting attendance and live gate records for the venue and promotion.

NYSAC has overseen no less than seven major professional MMA events in total, and UFC on Fox 25 last Saturday at Nassau Coliseum went off without incident. It was the fifth trip to New York for the UFC, and regardless of previous missteps, the promotion has no qualms about continuing to bring events here.

“Yeah, there’s little things with the commission, whether we just need to coordinate it all, but each show has gotten easier and easier and they’re running fine,” said Marc Ratner, UFC vice president of regulatory affairs. “I’m very, very pleased with it.”

In the beginning

As weigh-ins and medical checks for the UFC’s first show on Long Island wrapped up Friday morning, Ratner sounded comfortable with how the state has embraced the sport in the first year.

“There was a pent-up awareness and people wanted to see it,” said Ratner, who led the charge for MMA legalization. “It took us eight years to get OKd here. We can tell from the television ratings, the number of pay-per-view buys, this is a great area for us to promote in. When we finally got here, we had the biggest show we’ve ever had here.”

In an email ahead of Saturday’s event, NYSAC spokesman Laz Benitez said the response to legal MMA in the state has been positive.

“Fighters want to fight in New York, the world’s biggest stage,” Benitez wrote. “As for promoters and fans, the State has already hosted six at-or-near capacity cards, so the demand is there and the reaction has been tremendous.”

As positive as the numbers and responses have been, all sides acknowledge the unique challenge of building a new operation.

“The biggest inherent challenge was indeed just that, starting a new product from scratch, although our experience with boxing was helpful,” Benitez said. “The Commission began from the ground floor to develop a game plan that would be fully executable once the sport was legalized.”
Ratner believes any issues are part of a learning curve and that even the little things take time to pick up.

“First of all, we’re doing an early morning weigh-in, this is different,” Ratner said. “We’ve got to see if they’re going to use a digital scale, if they’re going to use what we call a meat scale. Doctors, how long’s it going to take to do every medical. Little small things, nothing extraordinary.”

UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden broke promotional and arena gate records as Conor McGregor won his second UFC title against Eddie Alvarez in the main event. That card on Nov. 12, 2016, was monumental for many reasons. But it also highlighted issues a new set of regulators can face.

“Fighter safety and the integrity of combative sports in New York State are our top priorities,” Benitez said. “And after exhaustive work, preparation and consultation with a multitude of industry experts, the commission put together a framework in time for the sport’s debut last November at Madison Square Garden that achieved those goals.”

The commission’s work resulted in a set of regulations unique to the state, causing some confusion at the start. Under New York’s rules, fighters who don’t make weight still must be within a certain range for the fight to be held. This rule was partially responsible for the cancellation of a bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Donald Cerrone last November. It also forced Jim Miller to come in above 156 pounds for his lightweight bout after opponent Thiago Alves missed the limit by more than six pounds.

When the UFC visited Albany last December, Ratner said a miscommunication left the fighters without a doctor on site who could perform stitches, a typical fixture at UFC events.

“We pride ourselves in having one of the doctors stitch and in Albany, we couldn’t get a doctor to stitch there, we had to have [fighters] wait in the hospital,” Ratner said. “It’s a big convenience for the fighters to not have to wait in the hospital. We always ask for one New York licensed doctor who can stitch. We pay for all that stuff, there was just a miscommunication and we couldn’t get the person there on time.”

Following February’s UFC 208 at Barclays Center, Holly Holm filed and lost an appeal after referee Todd Anderson did not penalize Germaine de Randamie for strikes Holm deemed to be thrown after the round ended. There also was scrutiny of the judging in de Randamie’s win, as well as Anderson Silva’s win over Derek Brunson.

But at UFC 210 in Buffalo last April, the miscues reached their pinnacle. The event nearly lost a fighter over the state’s rule banning female boxers with breast implants from competing. NYSAC reviewed Pearl Gonzalez’s medical records and cleared her to fight that afternoon.

More notably, it was the site of Cormier’s infamous towel grab. After first weighing in at 206.2 pounds — over the 205-pound limit for a light heavyweight championship fight — Cormier weighed in again a couple minutes later. That is allowed under NYSAC guidelines for a championship fight, but not a non-title fight, a fact expressly stated in a boxing guidelines memorandum but not spelled out in the state’s MMA guidelines posted on their website.

A couple minutes later, Cormier put his hands on the towel covering his naked body from view while weighing in for the second time. He was 205 pounds.

“We learned that if you’re going to have a towel around a fighter to make sure that he doesn’t have his hands on it,” Ratner said. “That may have happened before, but this was pretty crazy that it did happen. And sadly, it was tough on the commission.”

In a meeting five days after UFC 210, NYSAC amended language in its guidelines to state a fighter “shall not make physical contact with any person or object other than the scale.”

UFC 210 also put Long Island’s Weidman at the center of controversy. Weidman’s fight was paused after he took two knees to the head from Mousasi originally deemed illegal by referee Dan Miragliotta. But after the use of video review, the strikes were deemed legal and Weidman was ruled unable to continue by doctors. Weidman was handed a TKO loss.

Weidman and others were under the impression replay wasn’t allowed in New York, but it wasn’t strictly banned. NYSAC officials later said the use of replay was justified.

“There was a question of did they have replay or don’t they have replay in the Weidman fight,” Ratner said. “The commission told me they didn’t, then they said they did afterwards.”

Weidman appealed the decision, which was denied in the weeks ahead of UFC Long Island.

Benitez did not comment on specific incidents, but said the NYSAC is learning from each event it oversees.

“As with every new venture and opportunity, there have certainly been instances that the commission has learned and grown from,” Benitez said. “The commission also tapped into an existing pool of established referees, judges and inspectors with MMA experience, making the transition more seamless.”

Improving with time

NYSAC took a publicity hit for these incidents, but there have been some notable improvements, especially at weigh-ins. At Bellator NYC’s weigh-ins in June, Sergio Da Silva repeatedly tried to shift his balance and fool the scale to come in on weight. Three different NYSAC officials told Da Silva to stop the antics, step off the scale and start again.

The commission also was quick to stop Eryk Anders from touching the towel during his weigh-in for UFC Long Island last week.

For the most part, fighters appear understanding of the learning curve.

Villante, who fought in Albany last December, thinks the commission would be smart to seek guidance from New Jersey, the first state to adopt unified rules for the sport back in 2001.

“If they can learn a little bit from (New Jersey State Athletic and Control Board counsel) Nick Lembo over in Jersey, I think that’s one of the finest-run commissions. If they can learn a little bit from those guys, maybe, the next state over, I think that’d be a great thing,” Villante said. “But they’re learning on the fly, which is tough to do, but they’re getting it and I think, in time, it’ll get better and better.”

Benitez said NYSAC consulted numerous commissions in drafting their plan and remains in contact with other states as well as the Association of Boxing Commissions.

Patrick Cummins fought in New York for the second time on Saturday, defeating Villante by split decision. The Pennsylvania native was on the Buffalo card but had no issues getting ready to fight.

“I felt good with the commission. I know there were a lot of problems, especially during that Buffalo card,” Cummins said. “But, me? It didn’t affect me much, so, I don’t know. I don’t know whether to be thankful or to say that, yeah New York’s doing a great job.”

Darren Elkins, who defeated Dennis Bermudez in Saturday’s co-main event, said he understands what New York is going through after fighting in the early days of legal MMA near his hometown.

“I’m back in the day when there was no commission where I came from in Indiana, Chicago and that area. When we first got the commission, they had a lot of snags and they had a lot of things going on, too,” Elkins said. “It’s just working out the kinks, that’s what they’ve gotta do. When they figure that out, it’ll go all smooth. We’re so used to these commissions that have been around for a long time that we’re just not used to seeing something this new.”

The insurance issue

Still, the newness of it all has caused some fighters to pause. New Jersey’s Jim Miller fought in New York twice. Those will be his last fights here, he said.

“I think they’re just trying to reinvent the wheel,” Miller told BJPenn.com Radio in April. “It’s not that they’re doing things that are unsafe or anything like that. They’re trying to take really good care of the fighters. But they’re kind of being really overbearing with it, and a lot of these rules you don’t hear about.”

NYSAC requires additional neurological and blood examinations ahead of fights compared with other commissions such as New Jersey.

Ratner doesn’t see anything wrong with adding new protections, but he does hope to see commissions come up with a universal rule set to help ease confusion here and elsewhere.

“One of the problems, whether it be boxing or MMA, and I’ve been advocating this for 25 years or more, we don’t have standardized medical testing or standardized rules in every state,” Ratner said. “Now we don’t even have unified fight rules, but standardized medicals are extremely important. And I’m a states-rights guy, but we should be able to have the same blood tests, licensure, same hepatitis, HIV, same kind of stuff about MRIs, license calendar year. And every state is a little bit different, and there’s no reason for that.”

Ratner also noted that each show NYSAC oversees is high-visibility due to a $1 million life-threatening traumatic brain injury insurance requirement set by the state legislature, leaving few learning opportunities on smaller stages.

“They don’t have small fights. Every fight is a big fight, whether it’s us or it’s boxing,” Ratner said. “I know that the commission is working on the rules now to make it better insurance-wise. Whether they can do that or not, I don’t know. But what you want is small fights, too, to work on things.”

Benitez said the commission is continually assessing all policies and procedures, but any change to the insurance requirement would need to be approved and passed by the state legislature.

“This is unique coverage in the combative sports world,” Benitez said.

Fight on

New York may be among the strictest states, but Ratner has not yet heard of fighters turning down fights here.

“I’ve had fighters tell me they don’t want to fight in certain places like in Mexico because of the altitude or something like that, but no, it’s fine here,” Ratner said.

Benitez said the state also is not aware of any licensees shying from New York because of medical guidelines.

For some fighters, thinking about where they compete goes against their fighting mentality.

“I never think twice about taking a fight. As soon as something’s offered, I take it, that’s my style,” Cummins said. “I feel like just because it’s so new to New York, it’s going to be tough, but I’m hoping they have things figured out now. No towel blunders this time around.”
Elkins said he leaves it to the people who sign his check to make those decisions.

“Honestly, I’ve seen some of the things that are going on there, but all you can do is move forward,” Elkins said. “When they ask you to fight somewhere, it’s work, man. It’s either that you work or you don’t work, and I like to work and I like to compete. So, I took it. Is there concern? A little bit, but hopefully I keep things in my own hands and I don’t have to worry about anything.”

Bermudez believes fighters who do things the right way should have nothing to worry about.

“Everything I do, I just show up and do me,” Bermudez said. “I’m not a panicky, worrying kind of guy,” Bermudez said. “I don’t cheat the system in any way, shape or form so I have nothing to be concerned with.”

Gastelum was back in New York for a main event after his weight issues and NYSAC rules forced him off UFC 205 at the Garden.

“There was a little bit of hesitation, but at the same time, this was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” Gastelum said.

Even Weidman, Long Island’s biggest star who defeated Gastelum in Saturday’s main event, had people close to him telling him to avoid fighting in his home state. But, fighting at Nassau Coliseum was too much to pass up.

“Definitely a little hesitation, more hesitation with, like, my team, the people around me who care about me, they don’t like the way the New York commission dealt with a lot of stuff,” Weidman said. “Behind the scenes, with me, with the way the fight went down, with that and other things. There were some people that were like, ‘You’re not fighting, I don’t care, you’re not fighting in New York.’

“And I just did it.”

Luke Cummo

New Hyde Park | 7 UFC fights

The PinPoint Muay Thai gym in Lynbrook was long and narrow. The overhead lights were turned off. The only illumination came from the sun’s rays shining through the windows in both the front and back of the gym.

Two students were learning various striking techniques. While putting together an eight-punch combination, one student confused the order and paused out of frustration.

An instructor, in glasses and a black bandanna with orange flames printed on it, offered insight to his discouraged student.

“Life lesson for martial arts: Don’t give up,” Luke Cummo told the student. “If you mess up, don’t show it. Just keep at it.”

This is just one metaphor Cummo, a former UFC fighter, tries to instill in the young martial artists he instructs.

“You don’t want to teach people that they’re going to tap out in life,” Cummo, 37, said. “To me, martial arts teaches determination, endurance, perseverance.”

Cummo never was submitted or knocked out by an opponent in his six-year professional MMA career (2002-08). He was the last fighter picked on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” then surprised everyone by reaching the final. There, he lost to Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision.

Cummo was 6-6 overall, and 3-4 in the UFC. He lost his last fight at UFC 87 to Tamdan McCrory on Aug. 9, 2008.

Cummo, who grew up in New Hyde Park and now lives in Lynbrook, is developing what he calls Master Lukey’s League of Champions, a form of mixed martial arts that he believes will lessen the chance of injury.

League of Champions does not allow any head strikes. Competitors are fully padded. There are no finishes allowed. Submission moves are called “power holds” where a person can hold a position for a period of time without trying to injure the person.

“Some people have told me, ‘Oh, people like violence.’ I think people like action,” Cummo said. “The best fights are when two guys or two girls are going at it. I think that’s why my system is going to be a success. It is action-packed. When you have two people who are going to battle and they’re not worried about getting injured, they actually let loose a little more.”

Scoring is done on a points earned system based on moves executed, as opposed to the standard 10-9 scoring in boxing and MMA. Think more video game, less typical combat sports judging.

“To me, you put the time in, you’re automatically a champion, that’s why it’s the League of Champions,” Cummo said. “But we have to have somebody with a high score to make it interesting.”

Cummo said he’s planning his next League of Champions event for September. He is aiming to have 20 competitors, ranging from children to adults, each in their own division.

Cummo’s interest in finding a safer way to compete in mixed martial arts stems from his own experiences. He said he was treated for a brain injury in California for four months a few years ago and that he is now fully recovered.

He recalled his mindset from his fight against Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006. It was a series of three strikes to his head while he was on the ground.

“At that very moment, I said I don’t want to do this anymore, I just want to get out alive,” Cummo said. “I was crying in the cab on the way to the hospital.”

But as the weeks would pass and things settled down, Cummo would think about the money he could earn from another fight, and sure enough, he’d find himself back inside the octagon four more times before retiring in 2008.

Cummo was arrested for driving under the influence in October 2008, paid a $500 fine and performed 75 hours of community service. He and his wife divorced in 2009. They have two children, ages 8 and 10. He also faces a July 26 court date on two vehicle violation arrests from September 2015, according to Nassau County records.

Cummo remains focused on making his League of Champions a success. He spoke of touring all the gyms in the area to drum up interest in “the safest way to do MMA” as well as taking it national and setting up satellite schools, training manuals, moves lists, etc.

“I thought about getting another job,” Cummo said. “I’ve been doing martial arts so long, I don’t know anything else.”

LUKE CUMMO’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY
Date Event Opponent Result
Nov. 5, 2005 Ultimate Fighter Finale 2 Joe Stevenson Lost by unanimous decision
April 6, 2006 UFC Fight Night 4 Jason Von Flue Won by unanimous decision
June 28, 2006 UFC Fight Night 5 Jonathan Goulet Lost by unanimous decision
April 7, 2007 UFC 69 Josh Haynes Won by KO, Round 2, 2:45
Sept. 19, 2007 UFC Fight Night 11 Edilberto de Oliveira Won by TKO, Round 1, 1:45
March 1, 2008 UFC 82 Luigi Fioravanti Lost by unanimous decision
Aug. 9, 2008 UFC 87 Tamdan McCrory Lost by unanimous decision

LONG ISLAND IN THE UFC

dennis bermudez
gregor gillespie
al iaquinta
brian kelleher
ryan laflare
aljamain sterling
chris wade
chris weidman
gian villante

Where are they now?

luke cummo
eddie gordon
jay hieron
alptekin ozkilic
pete sell
matt serra

Gregor Gillespie

Massapequa | 2 UFC fights

Keith Trimble watched Gregor Gillespie boxing in the gym one recent afternoon. Gillespie moved well and threw crisp punches as he shadow boxed and hit the heavy bag.

Then, Trimble recalled a different sight in a different time.

“The worst,” Trimble said.

He remembered the first time he held pads for Gillespie, a former NCAA Division I wrestling champion.

“He almost broke my elbows,” the longtime trainer at Bellmore Kickboxing said.

That was a few years ago on the calendar and a few light years earlier in Gillespie’s development from wrestler to a more complete striker for mixed martial arts.

Gillespie, who lives in Massapequa, now moves better than ever with his hands. The transformation isn’t complete — it seldom is in mixed martial arts — but the rounding out of Gillespie’s skill set grows smoother by the day.

That was evident in his most recent fight last April at UFC 210 in Buffalo when he knocked out Andrew Holbrook.

Gillespie (9-0, 2-0 UFC) clipped Holbrook with a perfectly timed stepback left hook. He followed it up with several strikes to the grounded Holbrook to win the fight in 21 seconds.

It was the first knockout in the UFC for Gillespie, who had three wins by technical knockout while fighting his way to the lightweight title in Ring of Combat.

Add in three submission wins and that’s seven finishes for a growing MMA fighter with an impressive wrestling pedigree. He won two New York state titles while at Webster Schroeder High School and was a four-time All-American wrestler for Edinboro in Pennsylvania.

“If it’s stand-up, if it’s gritty takedowns, if it’s ground and pound, if it’s submissions, you’re going to see a lot of persistence,” Gillespie said. “I’m resilient and I’m a workhorse.”

Gillespie is awaiting his next fight booking. He indicated that he’d like to get on the UFC 25 card scheduled for Sept. 7 in Edmonton.

GREGOR GILLESPIE’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY
Date Event Opponent Result
Sept. 4, 2016 UFC Brasilia Glaico Franco Won by unanimous decision
April 8, 2017 UFC 210 Andrew Holbrook Won by KO, Round 1, 0:24

LONG ISLAND IN THE UFC

dennis bermudez
gregor gillespie
al iaquinta
brian kelleher
ryan laflare
aljamain sterling
chris wade
chris weidman
gian villante

Where are they now?

luke cummo
eddie gordon
jay hieron
alptekin ozkilic
pete sell
matt serra

Gian Villante

Levittown | 10 UFC fights

Gian Villante’s Long Island credentials are as strong as he is.

He won Newsday’s Thorp Award as the top football player in Nassau County when he was a two-way star for MacArthur High School in 2002. He won two county wrestling titles and is one of five active UFC fighters to have won a New York State high school championship.

Villante then went to Hofstra University where he became a three-time All-American football player.

He prefers the sleeves on his shirts go no further than where his shoulders stop and his arms start. And, there’s a burger named after him at Sal’s Place in North Massapequa.

So, of course he’s all kinds of fired up to finally fight at home when he faces Patrick Cummins on the UFC Long Island card at Nassau Coliseum on July 22, right? Well, yeah, but he brings the perspective of a 22-fight veteran.

“Business as usual, go in there, get a win,” said Villante, who grew up in Levittown and trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. “The only thing different is I’ll have a lot more people to celebrate with. I don’t have to rush home to celebrate with all my friends and family. I can do that 10 minutes away now, I’m good.”

There are perks to fighting across the street from where he starred in college (and across a few streets from where he often works with training partner Chris Weidman). No airplanes, no passports, no extra travel expenses for his cornermen, plenty of familiar voices in the crowd supporting him.
Again, though, Villante compartmentalized the significance of being one of the six Long Island-based fighters on the first UFC Long Island fight card.

It’s a familiar refrain for the 31-year-old Villante.

“My last fight was against [Mauricio] ‘Shogun’ Rua, a world champion. The fight before that was my first time ever fighting in New York, so every fight, there’s some sort of ‘Why this is the biggest fight of your life?” Villante said. “And I talk about it all the time. No matter what, your next fight after this, it’s going to be the biggest fight. It’s going to be way bigger than when I fought at Nassau Coliseum. The next fight is always the biggest fight of your career, so I just try to think of it like that. It’s nothing new, just another huge fight. They’re all huge at this point. You never want to lose any fight you’re in.”

Villante (15-7, 5-5 UFC) is ranked 13th in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, a class that, even with the return of former champion Jon Jones, isn’t the jewel of the promotion that it once was. If Villante can string together a few wins in a row, he could quickly move up the ladder. A win over No. 11 Cummins would be a good rebound after losing to No. 5 Rua last March.

Villante also appreciates the lifestyle of being a professional athlete, a job he always wanted growing up. He found his niche with mixed martial arts.

“The good thing about MMA, there’s no coach out there telling you, ‘Hey you gotta do this better, that better,’ or ‘It’s your fault this happened,’” Villante said. “In MMA, it’s your fault anything happens. Wins and losses, that’s it, it’s just on you, there’s nobody else to blame.”

There’s freedom in such a lifestyle, even with the grueling regimen of training camp for a physical and full-body sport. Villante was able to be a guest bartender on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen, work with Dana White and Matt Serra on an upcoming episode of “Dana White Lookin’ for a Fight” and cook with Lidia Bastianich.

“I’m my own boss,” Villante said. “All my other friends with these jobs waking up early and this and that. I wake up when I want, I do what I want, I have fun and then all I gotta do is go in there, get punched a couple times and punch the other guy even harder. It’s fun to me. It’s not a real job. One day I’ll have to get a real job, this ain’t it. I fight because I love it and it’s fun. One day I know I’ll have to grow up, but hopefully, that ain’t any time soon.”

GIAN VILLANTE’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY
Date Event Opponent Result
April 27, 2013 UFC 159 Ovince Saint Preux Lost by majority decision (doctor’s stoppage), Round 3, 0:33
Nov. 16, 2013 UFC 167 Cody Donovan Won by KO, Round 2, 1:22
March 23, 2014 UFC Natal Fabio Maldonado Lost by unanimous decision
June 28, 2014 UFC Auckland Sean O’Connell Won by split decision
April 18, 2015 UFC on Fox 15 Corey Anderson Won by KO, Round 3, 4:18
July 25, 2015 UFC Chicago Tom Lawlor Lost by KO, Round 2, 0:28
Nov. 14, 2015 UFC 193 Anthony Perosh Won by KO, Round 1, 2:03
March 5, 2016 UFC 196 Ilir Latifi Lost by unanimous decision
Dec. 9, 2016 UFC Albany Saparbek Safarov Won by TKO, Round 2, 2:07
March 11, 2017 UFC Fortaleza Mauricio Rua Lost by KO, Round 3, 0:59
July 22, 2017 UFC Long Island Patrick Cummins

LONG ISLAND IN THE UFC

dennis bermudez
gregor gillespie
al iaquinta
brian kelleher
ryan laflare
aljamain sterling
chris wade
chris weidman
gian villante

Where are they now?

luke cummo
eddie gordon
jay hieron
alptekin ozkilic
pete sell
matt serra

Chris Wade

Islip | 6 UFC fights

Chris Wade almost got onto the UFC’s Brooklyn card last February as a late addition. Didn’t happen. He almost landed a late spot on the UFC’s Buffalo card in April. Didn’t happen.

“I’ve been healthy, I’ve been raising my hand, ‘pick me! pick me!” the Islip-raised Wade said earlier this month.

This, of course, was after he already secured a spot on another New York-based UFC fight card, one slightly closer to home.

Wade will battle Frankie Perez in the first fight of the night at UFC Long Island at Nassau Coliseum on July 22. Just after 4 p.m. that Saturday, he’ll be the first fighter to enter the UFC’s octagon in Long Island, what with this being the promotion’s first event here. He’s also one of six Long Island-based fighters scheduled to compete inside the renovated venue.

“Fighting at Nassau Coliseum means the world to me,” said Wade, a former state wrestling champion at Islip High School. “This is like our little mecca of sports and entertainment, so to fight there is a real validation that you’ve made it in whatever path you’ve chosen.”

Ten months will have passed since Wade last fought in September when he lost a unanimous decision to Islam Makhachev. It was his second straight defeat, both of which came against Russian-based grapplers.

“I was starving for a fight,” Wade, 29, said.

Both competitively and financially.

Healthy the entire time, the competitive spirit inside Wade needed to be set free upon someone besides training partners. Plus, he’s a homeowner on Long Island and has a daughter to support.

Like most up-and-coming MMA fighters, Wade teaches classes at his gym (Long Island MMA in Farmingdale) and gives private lessons. He also helped open a second Long Island MMA gym in Islip. Wade also has a stake in Island Strong, an apparel business focused on taking pride in Long Island and all it has to offer.

“Not having fought in New York yet, being that outside guy looking in, I’ve been looking to jump in any way I could,” Wade said. “So to hear Long Island, my ears perked up, I’m like I gotta have this.”

Wade (11-3, 4-2 UFC) has four career wins by submission and seven by decision. Two of his four UFC wins came by submission. He and the New Jersey-based Perez (10-3, 1-2) fought once before in Ring of Combat, with Wade winning by split decision to defend his RoC lightweight title. It was the first career loss for Perez.

He wants his Long Island debut to be something fans all over the world will remember. Not only to secure his immediate UFC fighting future, but to help stand out amid a crowd of lightweight fighters each trying to make a name for themselves with the work inside the octagon and their sound bites on a microphone.

“I definitely need to make a statement this bout, considering the way things have kind of been going,” Wade said. “I’ve watched it creep from a true sport, like, just get your hand raised, to this almost WWE-esque entertainment entity where they want to see promo videos, they wanna see the trash talk, they wanna see the whole nine to bring the fan in.”

CHRIS WADE’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY
Date Event Opponent Result
Aug. 30, 2014 UFC 177 Cain Carrizosa Won by submission, Round 1, 1:12
Jan. 18, 2015 UFC Boston Zhang Lipeng Won by unanimous decision
June 6, 2015 UFC New Orleans Christos Giagos Won by unanimous decision
Jan. 17, 2016 UFC Boston Mehdi Baghdad Won by submission, Round 1, 4:30
May 8, 2016 UFC Rotterdam Rustam Khabilov Lost by unanimous decision
Sept. 17, 2016 UFC Hidalgo Islam Makhachev Lost by unanimous decision
July 22, 2017 UFC Long Island Frankie Perez

LONG ISLAND IN THE UFC

dennis bermudez
gregor gillespie
al iaquinta
brian kelleher
ryan laflare
aljamain sterling
chris wade
chris weidman
gian villante

Where are they now?

luke cummo
eddie gordon
jay hieron
alptekin ozkilic
pete sell
matt serra

Brian Kelleher

Selden | 1 UFC fight

In Brian Kelleher, the MMA world found an excitable guy who in the hysteria of winning his UFC debut against a Brazilian fighter in Brazil, with the adrenaline flowing, worked the microphone like a promo-cutting veteran looking to sell his next fight.

The regular world knows a different Kelleher.

“I’m very low-key,” said Kelleher, 30, of Selden. “I like nature, I like going out to the beach, just hanging out and keeping it low key. I don’t really go out to the bars or anything like that. That’s not my style. I’m more of a homebody.”

With his euphoria on display during his post-fight interview, which aired live on FS1 last month during the UFC 212 prelims, both worlds saw the next step in Kelleher’s pursuit of his singular dream. He submitted Iuri Alcantara in the first round via guillotine choke.

Kelleher then called out UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Sean Shelby for a $50,000 performance bonus, asked to be fed more sharks and informed the Brazilian crowd that he just beat one of their hometown guys.

Rather gutsy approach for a guy with 108 seconds of time spent in the UFC’s octagon.

“I have one vision and that’s to become the world champion,” he said after a recent training session at Long Island MMA in Farmingdale. “All I do is think about my next training session. While I’m training my first session, I’m like, ‘What am I going to do the next session?’ That’s all I’m thinking about. I’m just dedicated, disciplined and ready to take this to the top.”

Kelleher takes his next step against Marlon Vera (9-3-1) at UFC Long Island at the renovated Nassau Coliseum on July 22.

Kelleher (17-7), who fights out of Maxum BJJ in Centereach, was born in Oceanside and grew up in Selden. He never wrestled in high school, something of a rarity of American mixed martial arts fighters – even more atypical for a fighter from Long Island. Team sports were big with Kelleher growing up.

“Once I got into fighting, the feeling of victory after all the hard training, it was unexplainable,” Kelleher said. “It was like no other sport I’ve ever been in. I think that kind of kept me going and now it’s my life.”

Kelleher hadn’t fought in more than a year before his June 4 UFC debut. He knew his sport’s top promotion eventually would contact him for a fight, a high-risk play that certainly brought its share of rewards in the past two months.

One fight into his first stint in the UFC and he gets booked on his hometown card, which just so happens to be the UFC’s first event on Long Island (and its fifth in New York since the state legalized MMA in March 2016).

“I’ve always been booed, I’ve always fought the hometown guy, I’ve been the away guy,” Kelleher said. “But finally we’re coming home to fight in front of my friends and family. It’s going to be a surreal feeling. I think it’s going to be even more special than my debut, just for that fact that everyone that’s been supporting me over the years is going to be there in attendance.”

BRIAN KELLEHER’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY
Date Event Opponent Result
June 3, 2017 UFC 212 Iuri Alcantara Won by submission, Round 1, 1:48
July 22, 2017 UFC Long Island Marlon Vera

LONG ISLAND IN THE UFC

dennis bermudez
gregor gillespie
al iaquinta
brian kelleher
ryan laflare
aljamain sterling
chris wade
chris weidman
gian villante

Where are they now?

luke cummo
eddie gordon
jay hieron
alptekin ozkilic
pete sell
matt serra

Dennis Bermudez

Lindenhurst | 13 UFC fights

To the passers-by, mixed martial arts may look like a throwback to a less civilized and less cultured society.

But, for those men and women willing to put their bodies in harm’s way, it is far more than just two people punching, kicking and contorting each other until one person is stopped from doing so.

“One of the appeals of fighting is not knowing what’s going to happen,” said Dennis Bermudez, the No. 10 ranked UFC featherweight fighter from Long Island MMA in Farmingdale. “You can only prepare and hope that you’ve done everything correctly and that you’ll execute everything correctly while you’re in there. But when everything goes your way and you dominate another man against his will, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

Bermudez knows that feeling 17 times over. He also has seen that same feeling expressed by six other fighters at his expense, including his last fight against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

Bermudez, who grew up in Saugerties, New York, and moved to Long Island in 2010, takes aim at the good feeling on July 22. He’ll fight Darren Elkins in the co-main event at UFC Long Island at Nassau Coliseum. It is the promotion’s first event on Long Island and the fifth in New York since the state legalized MMA in March 2016.

“Walking into the Coliseum is going to be like another day walking in the gym,” Bermudez, 30, said. “I’m going to wake up in my bed, I’m going to drive 25 minutes to Nassau Coliseum and I’m going to throw down.”

He is one of six Long Islanders on the card that night, a group including LIMMA teammates Ryan LaFlare and Chris Wade, plus Chris Weidman, Gian Villante and Brian Kelleher.

For Bermudez, MMA became something of an extension of athletic goals he didn’t accomplish in high school and college. He wanted to be a state champion in high school, he said, but he never qualified for the state tournament. In college at Bloomsburg (Pennsylvania), he wanted to make the NCAA Tournament and make a run for the title. That didn’t happen, though he was a freestyle wrestling All-American.

When he began MMA in 2009, Bermudez set his next goal: get into the UFC. After nine pro fights, with seven wins, Bermudez earned a spot on Season 14 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He reached the final, losing to Diego Brandao in 2011.

“It’s kind of like I’m making some headway on some goals,” Bermudez said.

Indeed, along with the next one.

“My goal was to get into the top 10,” Bermudez said. “I’m in the top 10, so now we’re trying to climb up and be a world champion.”

A seven-fight win streak from May 2012 to November 2014 pushed Bermudez to as high as No. 7 in the rankings. Back-to-back losses to Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens moved Bermudez down a few spots. He won two of his last three fights, though, keeping him in the top 10.

“I’ve got a win over Max Holloway, who’s the current UFC champion of the world,” Bermudez said “and I want to climb back up there and meet up with him again.”

DENNIS BERMUDEZ’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY
Date Event Opponent Result
Dec. 3, 2011 Ultimate Fighter Finale 14 Diego Brandao Lost by submission, Round 1, 4:51
May 5, 2012 UFC on Fox 3 Pablo Garza Won by unanimous decision
Aug. 11, 2012 UFC 150 Tommy Hayden Won by submission, Round 1, 4:43
Feb. 23, 2013 UFC 157 Matt Grice Won by split decision
May 25, 2013 UFC 160 Max Holloway Won by split decision
Nov. 6, 2013 UFC Fight for the Troops Steven Siler Won by unanimous decision
March 15, 2014 UFC 171 Jimy Hettes Won by TKO, Round 3, 2:57
July 26, 2014 UFC San Jose Clay Guida Won by submission, Round 2, 2:57
Nov. 15, 2014 UFC 180 Ricardo Lamas Loss by submission, Round 1, 3:18
July 11, 2015 UFC 189 Jeremy Stephens Lost by KO, Round 3, 0:33
Feb. 21, 2016 UFC Pittsburgh Tatsuya Kawajiri Won by unanimous decision
Aug. 6, 2016 UFC Salt Lake City Rony Jason Won by unanimous decision
Feb. 4, 2017 UFC Houston Chan Sung Jung Lost by KO, Round 1, 2:30
July 22, 2017 UFC Long Island Darrin Elkins

LONG ISLAND IN THE UFC

dennis bermudez
gregor gillespie
al iaquinta
brian kelleher
ryan laflare
aljamain sterling
chris wade
chris weidman
gian villante

Where are they now?

luke cummo
eddie gordon
jay hieron
alptekin ozkilic
pete sell
matt serra