228542_10150167613077405_112918477404_6627357_8261504_nMMA may not be legal in New York, but that doesn't mean you can't see some of its future stars in the Big Apple. Beat the Streets, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing wrestling opportunities for youths, is hosting a one-of-a-kind dual meet in Times Square today.
America's best wrestlers will take on Russia's best in the middle of one of the world's busiest areas at 6 p.m. ET today. Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo will return to the mat for the first time since winning the gold medal. Recent NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner Jordan Burroughs, world team member and future fighter Shawn Bunch, world silver medalist Jake Herbert (pictured), world bronze medalist and world team members and NCAA champions Brent Metcalf and Jake Varner will also take the mat.
The whole thing will be broadcast on the largest LED screen in Times Square. Rashad Evans, football players Justin Tuck, Antonio Garay, Marcus Colston and Willie Colon and actors Matthew Modine -- yes, the star of "Vision Quest" -- and Billy Baldwin are all expected to attend.
It's a great event for the wrestling community, undoubtedly giving the growing sport more exposure. But MMA proponents can't help but note the irony that wrestling is a sport that is the launching pad for MMA stars and a key component of the sport. It's taking center stage in the biggest city in the country, and the biggest city in the U.S. not to have hosted an MMA event.
So if you're in Manhattan, head to Times Square to catch elite wrestling for free. If politicians continue to squabble over the sport, it will be the closest thing you'll get to MMA anytime soon.