Moore And Gomes Deck Mixed Martial Arts Blood Bath

mixed martial arts

Former State Senator, now state motor vehicle commissioner, Andres Ayala promoted legislation to allow the Mixed Martial Arts blood spectacles at the Webster Bank Arena. With Ayala behind the wheel of the DMV, the state senators representing Bridgeport, Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes, have counted it out.

More on this from CT Post scribe Ken Dixon:

“I just think that of all the things we need to bring into Bridgeport, Mixed Martial Arts, I think is just too violent,” Moore said (Thursday). She said that figures provided to her indicating that one night of fighting would bring $125,000 to the city, were optimistically trumped up. “I have talked to the restaurateurs down in Bridgeport and their general feeling is for the most part there are a couple restaurants that get the business in Bridgeport. The people come in for the entertainment and leave. It’s a violent sport and I’m not for it.”

“I admire sports and I’m not squeamish about somebody hitting somebody, but the thing of it is, boxing, to me, is a sport,” Gomes said. “When you sit on somebody’s chest and beat his face in, it’s not a sport, it’s a fight. I’ve seen fights in the street and I’ve been in fights in the streets, but I don’t count that as a sport. I’m not going to vote for it.”

Full story here.

extreme fighting



  1. Well, let me add my 2 cents. Personally, I would not go to this event, but I must admit I do watch it on television sporadically. It is a good way of redirecting tension and energy. I imagine some folks from this non-blog. However, I know it would have been a big draw for the city and Arena. I would like them to name just one restaurant that does not appreciate any activity at the arena. The martial artists are professionals and get paid good money. This is what they do for a living. I think Gomes and Moore made a bad call though I appreciate their sensitivity, their vote did nothing for the city and for that I say two thumbs down. I certainly would not put that action on any reelection campaign.

  2. I thought we were trying to sell Bridgeport as a destination. It’s a sanctioned sport, that’s very popular, and is regulated for safety. It may not be what many of us would go to but we have a chance to fill an arena, bring different people to Downtown and bring in much-needed revenue. The sport will go on with or without Bridgeport, so why miss the opportunity?

    1. How about some cockfights? Steel Cage Match with Finch, Foster and Ganim at the Arena. Maria and Steve could be on the undercard. Fox could be the ring announcer.

      1. Quenten Dreher, your post is exactly what I tried to say but not as eloquent. People are going to see it anyway, but the largest urban center turns its back on it. Well, it is the city and Downtown businesses that suffer. People will happily travel to Hartford and New Haven. They have been spending their money there for years. Again, 2 thumbs down.

        Grin Ripper, Maria and myself would not be the under ticket. We would be the main attraction. The second picture is of me after Maria is done with me. I do enjoy playing devil’s advocate with her.

        1. Steve,
          These happy travelers to New Haven and Hartford you refer to, left me with a further clarification. Are these travelers going to New Haven and Hartford for MMA events? And would you please provide me with the New Haven and Hartford locations of MMA so I can visit?

          1. carolanne curry, with all due respect you are asking a John Marshall-esque question that is a waste of my time. All you need to know from me is I believe with perfect faith Moore and Gomes voted selfishly. You as a Westport resident would not only not patronize it but would also not contribute to the downtown eateries. Martial arts competitions are a big draw. Lot of money for the Arena and restaurants. Whether Hartford or New Haven have them in their venues or not is not relevant. What is relevant is Bridgeport is the largest city in the state. There is a market for this venue. Carolanne, if this doesn’t register with you maybe this will. It is like asking heterosexual Catholics if they think gay marriage should be approved. In this case Gomes and Moore voted their own personal belief without caring about the welfare of the city and its constituents. There really is nothing left to say on this matter.

          2. Carolanne,
            Will you share with Steve, below, that we have not been talking about this subject and your questions probably spring naturally from curiosity about his generalizations? Have a great weekend. Time will tell.




    2. Pot dispensaries were an opportunity for economic gain. So are strip clubs. The problem is adding to the grand list with this type of development could prompt the increase of less desirable statistics as well. What we gain in tax base we spend on police? We need to clean things up here, remember?


  3. Yes, I have to disagree with Gomes and Moore on this one, although I usually agree with them. MMA has grown tremendously and can serve as one additional event that could take place at the arena. Economic growth and health is often contingent on diversification. The more the arena can diversify itself, the better. I think the argument regarding MMA as violent is not sufficient justification to close the door on this opportunity. I think they should support this and allow the market to decide whether this will be a hit or a dud at the arena. But to prematurely dismiss this is a mistake. To state people come to Bridgeport events and leave is also not sufficient justification. Bridgeport needs to position itself in a way it can draw all sectors and demographic groups, and this can potentially be one more demographic. Finally, if people come to Bridgeport and leave, that is Bridgeport’s fault. In other words, Bridgeport is not marketing itself well enough to retain people and the businesses need to figure it out. Personally, I don’t enjoy curling, but would be open to it being at the arena and just allow the market to determine if this will continue or not. This is not a good move.

  4. Downtown businesses suffer and patrons will spend money in Hartford and New Haven. Ayala clearly was more progressive and had his pulse on the future and seeing Bridgeport, the state’s largest city as a destination. This was a real mistake to nix it.

  5. Stick with the glorified soap opera that is the WWE. A J-CVD—esque bloodsport is just what the children of Bridgeport don’t need.

  6. Good for Ed and Marilyn in many ways. First they voted with their conscience. It wasn’t simply about the money. If anything was about the money it was the arena pushing the idea. It was a money grab by them. The arena only cares about what money they can generate inside the building.
    Secondly having two state senators who can work together and vote together gives them greater clout up in Hartford. Whether you agree with this vote or not, in the long run it will make Bridgeport stronger and the senate will have to deal with them.
    And to those who say Bridgeport should just take anything, well that has always been Bridgeport’s attitude. Like beggars at the banquet table. Give us your scraps of food. Give us what you don’t like, what you don’t want, what you consider garbage. We are so desperate, we will take anything.
    Bridgeport has never had the discipline to decide what it wants and stick to it. Instead it is give me this, no that, no the other thing.
    It is impossible to put together a comprehensive economic development plan for the city with this attitude. And that more than anything else discourages developers.

    1. Bob Walsh, here is the problem. They were elected to serve the city of Bridgeport and their constituents. This is why I had a problem a few years ago. Nobody cares if Marilyn is squeamish or if she thinks boxing is better than Martial arts. People do not care what Mr. Gomes’ definition of a sport is. This would have been beneficial to Bridgeport’s downtown and keeping it on track to be a destination. The more I think about it the more I realize this was a missed opportunity. So they voted together and Bridgeport is at a loss. Whenever there is an event downtown, the restaurants prosper. I am certain there is not one business downtown, that would commend this vote. I am thinking the only people supporting their vote are their staunch supporters. Good thing Steelpointe and downtown development do not depend on this tag team. Very disappointing. I wonder if Mary-Jane Foster believes this vote benefits Bridgeport. We have rap concerts that incite violence with their lyrics and we have people who do not believe it is music, but there is an audience that wants to spend money on this and spread the wealth around to other businesses in Bridgeport. I promoted this music in case anyone thinks I am making an attack on rap music. This is business and this vote kept the money away from Bridgeport. I do not see why anyone would commend this vote.

      1. Steve, I would be remiss not to mention I agree with you on this. While we may not agree ALL the time, I do believe and believe you believe we both love this city!

      2. Steve, I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a huge and established following of MMA and here we are saying no to this? This does not make sense from a business perspective. Or frankly from any other perspective.

  7. I don’t know, if there are people willing to spend their money and go watch this, why not let it happen? Also, not sure I like our elected officials dictating their feelings about what they think is proper for the rest of us to like or dislike, what’s next, them telling us what books to read or music they think is proper?

  8. Okay Stevie, Harvey and Andmar,
    Let’s bring back strip bars to downtown Bridgeport. And assuage parlors, too. A segment of the population wants this. The city will make money off it through new property tax and licensing.
    Is this the laissez faire economic development you think will be good for Bridgeport’s future???
    Maybe it is. This was downtown during the Moran administration.

    1. Bob, the city was bankrupt during the Moran administration. The economy was at rock bottom. I was not the Mayor and the city was not quickly becoming a destination as it is now. They made the wrong decision. 10 thousand fans will not come to Bridgeport, perhaps for the first time. Restaurants will continue to suffer with sporadic bookings at the arena. Bob, you are clueless when it comes to marketing and promoting the city. You represent a roadblock to Bridgeport’s future and Moore and Gomes voted as a tag team and did not vote for those who elected them. I am disgusted. There is no comparison to strip clubs and massage parlors. They do not attract 10,000 people to Bridgeport who patronize other businesses.

      1. No Stevie, you are wrong. You are absolutely supporting a laissez faire economic development model. Whatever the people want, you want to deliver. Or is it if the city makes enough money on a bad idea, that’s good?
        No touching, no lapdancing, no good.

  9. At one point the City of Bridgeport was the go-to City for entertainment. Less than 20 years ago Bridgeport was looking at bringing in more arts and entertainment venues, really what is left for us but that, we are not the place to go if you need or want to BUY something. If the new cineplex is an indication of the direction the city is taking, then “any” form of legal entertainment should be embraced, I too believe it to be a misstep.

    1. I agree, Hector. What will happen is we will say no to this and just watch it get picked up in another state and we will watch Connecticut citizens just travel to another state to watch MMA. Our loss will be another state’s gain.

  10. Bob, your comparison does not make much sense to me. Here are some reasons why. (1) MMA events would occur about 1-2 times a year (at most) whereas strip bars are permanent. (2) the arena has different types of events and its sole purpose is not just MMA, this is not the case with strip clubs. (3) MMA events would attract a volume of maybe 10,000 people (I’m making up the numbers), this is not the case with strip clubs. The sheer volume of this would be good for downtown.

    Also, I think it is important to clarify a misconception about MMA as only being violent. Sure, there are many fights that are bloody etc, but there are many fights that are not, and these include grappling and Brazilian jujitsu. The grappling and jujitsu aspect of this is often some of the most interesting part of the sport. And if people feel it is violent, then all they have to do is not watch it. But why impose one’s own perspective on others who are committed fans?

    Regarding MMA is not a sport: It consists of boxing, jujitsu, martial arts etc. and incredible training and conditioning. These are all sports, so I am not fully clear how MMA is not a sport if it consists of these well-respected disciplines.

    I think people have to separate their emotion and bias and view this objectively. MMA draws millions of viewers, ad this would be a big-ticket attraction in Bridgeport.

    1. Kneeling on someone’s chest and beating the shit out of them until they are a bloody pulp is not a sport. It is savage behavior that WILL result in long-term health issues for these participants.
      Have the state make the promoters cover the participants with worker’s comp insurance. They would never agree to that.

      1. Actually, MMA fighters experience fewer traumatic brain injuries than boxers. There is a 2006 Johns Hopkins study showing this. Two reasons, (1) the boxing gloves and extra padding are heavier, and (2) boxing fights are longer. So MMA has been found to actually be safer than boxing. So a lot of this is misconception about the sport and the way it looks, but there are actually fewer injuries than in boxing.

  11. Five years from now or 10 years from now when we learn MMA results in long-term brain damage or physical disabilities, Stevie will be saying “why didn’t someone warn us?” Or worse yet when you have a death in the ring and a traumatized audience of 3,500 people and lawsuits flying left and right, Stevie will be saying “why did the state allow this to continue?” Or when we learn of the damage these participants are doing to themselves by taking illegal steroids or illegal prescription drugs in the middle of these “fights,” Stevie will be asking “who were the legislators who allowed this to go on?”
    The state is there to protect people like Stevie from themselves.

  12. Bob, I appreciate your points, but I think the series of hypotheticals is not persuasive reasoning to just close the door on a big-ticket revenue generated event that is desperately needed in Bridgeport. Even if these were concerns then this could be easily addressed in legislation, (1) adults only could attend, and (2) mandatory urine test within 24 or 48 hours, etc.

    1. Andmar and Hector, you are on the money 100 percent. I would bet Joe Ganim and Bill Finch as well as Mary-Jane Foster would agree Gomes and Moore made a bad decision and without the input from local businesses. I of course cannot speak for any of the Mayors. I am not sure the Mayor’s office will react. But I will say Andres Ayala clearly had his finger on the pulse of the city and the future when he tried to diversify the draw to the Arena. It just seems it is always feast or famine for the Arena, the ball park and all the struggling restaurants. Moore and Gomes made a terrible decision at the expense of the city taxpayers.

  13. Here are some real numbers.
    If four strip bars opened in downtown Bridgeport, they would have 1,460 dates for “entertainment.”
    If each one averaged 20 patrons a day (the equivalent of less than two per hour), you would have 29,200 paying customers in downtown in a year.
    It seems for those who support MMA it is more a matter of which vice they like and which ones they don’t.

  14. I don’t even understand your point and how strip bars are relevant. Anyway, in summary.
    1. MMA is safer than boxing and other sports that involve similar striking.
    2. MMA involves intense training and conditioning and is comprised of different disciplines such as jujitsu–thus it can be deemed a sport.
    3. It would make Bridgeport a destination.
    4. It would draw large audiences, which is good for business.
    5. These events would only occur 1-2 times per year max.
    6. The arena needs the opportunity to diversify its events in order to be sustainable.

  15. One of my closest and best friends has competed, trains and coaches, well into his fifties, you wouldn’t guess he was a day over 35, these are well-trained athletes. Another one of the biggest advocates for MMA is Joe Rogan who many of you may know from “Fear Factor,” also a former competitor and world class pool player. Andmar, I would venture to guess Joe Rogan with his star appeal and his past promotions of MMA events in Las Vegas will be coming to a neighboring city soon and it will be to their benefit. I’d love to be in a room while these guys are training with those of you who don’t consider this a sport.

  16. Thanks Hector, and just as an aside. This would be a huge hit with the local Brazilian community (Bridgeport, Danbury) if Brazilian Jujitsu fighters were to compete. This would have possibly helped these politicians to maybe connect to this constituency–even if it were just a talking point. And more broadly, this would have possibly helped them connect with a younger voting constituency.

  17. I along with Chris Caruso was a big advocate for an indoor/outdoor soccer field with the hope of a minor/major league franchise coming. I believe the return would have been at least triple what we get from either the baseball or hockey teams. This was supposed to be a part of the current model and should be considered an alternative to putting housing there.

  18. OK guys, here you go.
    Mohegan Sun arena next 30 days
    Ed Sheeran
    The Who
    Connecticut Sun 7 games
    Charlie Wilson
    Shawn Mendes
    New Kids On The Block
    Bette Midler
    Rob Zombie
    Dancing With The Stars

    Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yards
    The entire month of June CT City Fest
    The entire month of July Kevin Hart
    The entire month of August – Nothing
    The entire month of September – Nothing

    Webster Bank Arena needs a new operator. That’s what they need.

  19. I just reread this trail and no one ever mentioned they need a new operator. Makes no sense. People are simply saying MMA has a following and this can be a positive attraction at the arena and for Bpt. And it should be up to the arena to decide whether or not to have this and not politicians.

    1. Carolanne Curry from Westport, you stand with very very very few supporting Marilyn and Gomes. Your inability to acknowledge that proves it was a waste of time to respond. What about Ganim, Ms. Carolanne? Does Ganim think it was a good idea or would he stand with Finch on this one? As you have read on this blog, even Bob Walsh is struggling to rationalize Moore and Gomes’ vote. Bridgeport misses an opportunity and we have Moore and Gomes to thank. Way too disturbing to discuss further. Andres Ayala, too bad Bridgeport would attract a new audience.

      Bob Walsh, strip clubs and massage parlors? The comparison is beyond absurd. Shouldn’t downtown businesses have been involved with their input? Do Gomes and Moore understand what they were elected to do? Who in their right mind as an elected official turns down a money-generating business opportunity that people could or could not decide to support? You see Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes do not patronize and support the downtown restaurants and their scope is limited.


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