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Director Bobby Razak Sheds Light on Struggle to Legalize MMA

As one of the early documentarians of MMA, filmmaker Bobby Razak is used to providing an inside look at the lives of fighters and personalities in the sport. But for his latest project, he's reaching out to individuals outside of MMA. Specifically, lawmakers in New York and Toronto.

"It's really to bring light to what is going on," Razak told FanHouse. "To show certain people in the hierarchy – the New York state commissions, the Toronto commissions – to show what our sport is about, how impressive it is, what good it does to the economy, what good it does to troubled youth. This is a great sport. These are great people and let's let them do what they want to do."

Recognized for his work on TapouT film shorts, Razak was recently hired by fashion designer and entrepreneur Mark Ecko for a marketing campaign to raise awareness towards the struggle to legalize MMA.

The sport has evolved over the years and the majority of states have welcomed the revamped sport, but New York and Toronto remain MMA hotbeds where lawmakers have not been convinced.

"What I experienced in New York and Toronto is not really the people, but the political powers that be," Razak said. "It's key people in the political realm who are stopping and not allowing the sport of mixed martial arts to become legal. The people are behind us. It's really just more the political powers and the hierarchy that are blocking us from flowering into fruition and going to the next level."

Attempts at legalizing MMA in New York have failed twice the last two years and Razak says it might take a changing of the guards to bring MMA to the Big Apple.

"That was the biggest thing I realized. I was thinking: Push the people and make the people realize they need to legalize MMA, but it's not really in the hands of the people. It's in the hands of a few select senators. The people in power need to be educated."

Razak hopes the educational process and continual pressure from the public and outside senators and congressmen supportive of MMA will eventually encourage lawmakers in Toronto and New York to legalize the sport.

The format of the films are similar to Razak's work with TapouT and Dethrone Royalty. A 30-second commercial spot will air to direct viewers towards a website to watch the complete short films.

Besides the campaign, Razak continues work on two full length documentaries, Sangre Nueva and Und3rdogs.

Sangre Nueva is about the impact of Mexican fighters in MMA and is scheduled to be finished the first week of January 2010. Meanwhile, Und3rdogs will be completed in April/May 2010. There's currently no distribution for either film, but Razak's plan is to bring Sangre Nueva to Sundance.

"It shows how far the Mexican athlete has come and the impact of the Mexican athlete and what the Mexican athlete brings to the MMA game," Razak said of the film, featuring Cain Velasquez, Miguel Torres and Gilbert Melendez.

For Und3rdogs, Razak collected footage from filming MMA the past 14 years to tell the story of what he describes as "the history of MMA with a special southern California twist."

"For me that was a very special film," Razak said. "That was Charles 'Mask' Lewis' last vision. We had worked on that film for three years, and after he died, it was my duty to continue that. It's a beautiful and amazing historic film."

Until those films are released, Razak looks forward to the premiere of his two, 10-minute short films through Ecko featuring Frank Shamrock, David Louseau, Patrick Cote, Robert Drysdale, Mark Ecko, FanHouse's Ariel Helwani and others.

The 30-second commercial spot and two films are slated to begin airing/streaming mid-December.

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