Lyman Good has been with Bellator Fighting Championships since the inception of largest tournament-based MMA organization in the world in 2009. A native of Spanish Harlem, N.Y., Good was Bellator's inaugural welterweight champion. Nearly two years after losing the title to current title holder Ben Askren, Good (12-2) will headline Bellator 74 at Caesars Atlantic City on Friday, September 28 when he participates in a welterweight quarterfinal match against "Judo" Jim Wallhead (23-6).
If there was any doubt about Good's determination to regain the strap, he squashed it in April at Bellator 65 when he knocked out LeVon Maynard in 13 seconds to advance in the tournament. Next to the fire that burns inside him to avenge his loss to Askren and become a two-time champion, Good is passionate about keeping the propaganda machine going in an effort to finally get MMA sanctioned in New York State.
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"It is a sport in itself, regardless," Good told SBNation New York. "Basketball sport, combat sport ... whatever it is it's still a sport. It's something I feel is very crucial and very important for the city as well to be a part of it. They will see in the future that they've, if anything, been missing out. It's very monumental to the industry right now."
When not competing, Good is a Sensei for Tiger Schulmann in Manhattan. A growing coalition of New York metro area MMA fighters including Chris Weidman, Frankie Edgar and Endicott, N.Y., native Jon Jones have worked tirelessly to get it through the politicians' heads in Albany the true value of booking shows in the Big Apple. The dream of competing at iconic venues Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden makes too much sense. The determination of Good and the coalition is resolute.
"It's cool in the sense that it's not sanctioned yet and we have all these fighters trying to rally," Good said. "It's kind of like a movement, almost, but it's kind of cool in a way. It just has to happen already. Plain and simple."
I'll have more on Good's story next week along with a piece on Brooklyn's Phillipe Nover, fighting Derrick Kennington in a preliminary bout at Bellator 74 and best known for reaching the lightweight finals of Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC