The Upstate NY Metal and Combat Sports Connection

Must See MMA/Boxing Events in the Region

By Darren Barcomb Special from and

Greetings Upstate NY Metal Fans! If you are reading this then you obviously enjoy the great metal scene in Upstate NY, and I’m banking on the fact that you also enjoy the growing combat sports activity in the region. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Boxing are thriving all the way from New York City to the Canadian border and a common theme at each show (along with bone crushing left hooks) is the kick-ass metal tunes that fighters use for their cage/ring entrances and warm up music.

Just like the readers here, combat sports athletes enjoy their heavy metal music. As a writer for and, I’ve had the pleasure to cover many events live and have found that they all have incorporated metal into their shows. From Black Sabbath to Metallica to some groundbreaking local artists, the music has always helped to create the atmosphere that defines these shows. The real question though is whether folks are aware of the MMA/Boxing events happening in the area.

Adonis Stevenson (left), the reigning Lineal, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight champion, poses with MMA reporter, Darren Barcomb (right). Photo credit: Darren Barcomb


 Unfortunately, New York remains one of the few states to not yet legalize professional MMA. While we await the stubborn lawmakers to wake up on this issue, amateur MMA has sprung up all over the state and professional Boxing has continued to make strides in the upstate region.

Fans of the UFC know well that current light heavyweight kingpin Jon “Bones” Jones, Anderson Silva slayer and middleweight champ Chris Weidman, and former champs Rashad Evans and Matt Serra hail from the Empire State. Yes, it is only a matter of time before NY wises up and brings the UFC to the Big Apple, but in the meantime fans upstate have the opportunity to see the future octagon stars right here locally.

For fans living near Albany, the Washington Avenue Armory will host Cage Wars 23 on December 14th and Cage Wars 24 on January 25th. The brain child of local heavyweight boxer Shannon Miller- who once fought former World champion Hasim Rahman- Cage Wars brings local fighters together for some of the hardest hitting MMA out there right now. There’s not a bad seat at the Armory and tickets start at $40, so mark this in as an early Christmas gift for your buddies. With 23 shows under their belts, Cage Wars is a proven local draw with a track record of entertaining and successful shows.

If you are a little further upstate though and need something closer to the border, Vermont based Xtreme Combat Promotion (XCP) returns for their fourth show in Plattsburgh at the Crete Civic Center on February 14th. Showcasing the best amateur talent from Vermont and Upstate NY, this is a can’t miss promotion. Of course I may be a little biased as one of my own fighter from Glens Falls, Dylan Deso, will be fighting at lightweight. Tickets start at around the $30 mark and the promotion is planning a trip to the Kingston area in 2014 as well.

If MMA isn’t quite your thing and you prefer the sweeter science of Boxing, the region has plenty to offer in the ring. Boxing purists know that New York has long been a breeding ground for pro fighters, bringing the likes of Mike Tyson, Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta, Jack Briton, and Sugar Ray Robinson to the national limelight. Could the next heavyweight champion of the world be right in our own backyard? A few local promoters sure hope so and they need your support to continue bringing old school professional boxing to the region.

Promoter Greg Gross has stormed into the area and brought with him a steady flow of professional events to the Whitehall Athletic Club at the Armory in Whitehall. It may be a little out of the way, but a trip to the Armory is more than worth the time. Putting on shows regularly, the Athletic Club showcases Pro Boxing and Amateur MMA with tickets starting around $25, so please check them out. Their next Boxing card is planned for March. While local fighters are on tap for the events, talent from Canada, New York City, and all around the U.S. are imported for these highly competitive shows.

Another boxing option is Albany based ARES Promotions which hosts shows at the Washington Avenue Armory every few months. With tickets routinely starting at $20 and at a great location, these fight cards are a must-see for any fight enthusiasts.

Please check out the links below and make it a point to get to a MMA or Boxing fight card this coming year. If you’ve never seen fights live, you don’t know what you’re missing. The sounds of fans screaming, punches landing, and awesome entrance music will give you the same rush that you enjoy from a live music show. So, get your buddies together, load up a car, and get to a night of fights. I promise you’ll enjoy some music and drinks while you are there as well.

Cage Wars:
ARES Boxing:
Xtreme Combat Promotions:
Whitehall Athletic Club:

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