Posts tagged: Events

Asylum Fight League, Gaining Success and Recognition

Asylum Fight League (AFL), the premier amateur MMA promotion on the East Coast, is quickly gaining fans and a growing reputation in the MMA world with each event. The promotion’s success is largely credited to martial arts school owner turned promoter Carl Mascarenhas.

AFL Fight Action

Following New Jersey’s decision to sanction MMA competition, Mascarenhas opened his first promotional company named New Breed Fighters. In 2008, Mascarenhas had a falling out with his business partner in New Breed and decided to go in a new direction with his promotional efforts, thus spawning Asylum Fight League.

Asylum Fight League was established as a promotion “created by fighters, for fighters.” Mascarenhas is the president and promoter of AFL, as well as a retired MMA fighter and former World Champion Kickboxer. He participated in three World Cups with the U.S. World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) team, winning gold in 1995.

Mascarenhas created AFL as a training ground for amateur fighters of the Northeast region to build their records and gain recognition as potential professional-level athletes while getting the respect and understanding of businessmen who have been in their shoes.

AFL has promoted events since April of 2008 and has gained considerable popularity, routinely drawing sell-out crowds in major venues, such as the Trump Marina Casino. AFL promotes events in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. Of the promotion’s last six fights, three were held in Atlantic City along with the last event, which took place at the Trump Mariana on Feb. 27.

Carl Mascarenhas

The legalization of MMA competition in Pennsylvania, which took effect on Feb. 27, 2009, proved extremely favorable for AFL in exposure, recruitment of fighters, buildup of fan base, and expansion of venues and sponsorship. AFL held its first event in Pa. on Oct. 17, 2009 at The Arena in Philadelphia. Its next event, Asylum Fight League XXVII, will take place at The Legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia on Sat, Mar. 13 at 7 p.m.

In addition to putting on displays of MMA competition to an audience at venues, the AFL also provides a live online stream of its events at or

AFL has been very effective in marketing itself to sponsors and advertisers. The promotion has a detailed sponsorship plan, which has attracted numerous sponsors, including Everlast, The National Guard, Sirius Satellite Radio, Ring of Combat, Knockout Athletics and others.

The league promotes events featuring a variety of different weight classes (13) ranging from super featherweight (126-129.9 pounds) to absolute (250 pounds and above). Of the 13 weight classes, there are six titleholders. The other weight classes currently have vacant titles.

The success and gained notoriety of the league have had effects on its talent and led to changes in the promotion. Due to the number of its fighters turning professional, AFL has recently decided to promote cards featuring both amateur and professional bouts. At AFL XXI, the promotion’s debut in Philadelphia, the card featured four amateur fights and four professional fights.

Asylum Fight League Promo Videos

AFL’s next events are scheduled for Mar. 13 in Philadelphia and Mar. 20 at Club Abyss in Amboy, N.J.

Coleman attempts to put Team Hammer House back on center stage

Mark “The Hammer” Coleman’s Team Hammer House has fallen on hard times as of late.  However, Coleman hopes to turn the trend around as he meets another MMA great and fellow UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture this weekend at UFC 109 Relentless.

Team Hammer House is a MMA team operating out of Columbus, Ohio, focused on amateur wrestling, and made up of mostly former NCAA wrestlers.  The team has cross training deals with notable fighters and camps such as Matt Serra, Pat Miletich, and Xtreme Couture MMA.

The main strengths of Team Hammer House are its wrestling and ground-and-pound.  Coleman is credited with being one of the first American MMA fighters to successfully use the strategy of ground-and-pound, which has earned him the nickname of the “Godfather of Ground-and-Pound.”

Coleman, the founder of Team Hammer House, holds numerous accomplishments in the world of professional MMA.  He is a UFC Hall of Famer, the first ever UFC heavyweight champion, and the winner of the UFC 10 tournament, UFC 11 tournament, and 2000 Pride openweight GP tournament.  Coleman, like many of his teammates at Hammer House, is a former NCAA collegiate wrestler.

Team Hammer House holds a roster with several prominent fighters, including four UFC veterans: two of whom are former UFC champions. The team’s notable fighters include: Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Wes Sims and Branden Lee Hinkle.  Phil Baroni, a UFC, Pride and Strikeforce veteran, is a former member of Team Hammer House.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman is a senior member of  Team Hammer House. Randleman, a former collegiate wrestler and two time Division I NCAA champion, was defeated by Mike Whitehead via unanimous decision in June of 2009 during his Strikeforce debut at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields.  The fight marked his first fight in over a year due to a shoulder injury, as well as his first fight in America in nearly seven years.  In his most recent fight Randleman was defeated by Stanislav Nedkov via split decision at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 11.

Wes Sims, three-fight UFC veteran  and The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights cast member, recently fought Bobby Lashley on the main card of Strikeforce: Miami. Sims was stopped in the first round via technical knock out (2:06).

Branden Lee Hinkle, three-fight UFC veteran and NCAA Division II national wrestling champion, was stopped by Chris Tuchscherer in round 4 (4:43) of his most recent fight at SNMMA: Beatdown at Four Bears. Hinkle has lost four of his last five fights after going undefeated in his previous nine matches.

Coleman scored a unanimous decision victory over Stephan Bonner in his last fight at UFC 100 after falling to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via technical knock out in the third round (4:36) at UFC93.  He is currently training with Team Hammer House in preparation for his match with Randy Couture this Saturday Feb. 6 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV.

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Live pay-per-view coverage of UFC 109 will begin at 10 p.m. EST.

Asylum Fight League 9/18 at the Trump Marina

Asylum Fight League will host its next event on Friday, September 18th, at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The 16-fight card will kick off at 9 PM and will feature two title fights.

Tickets range from $40 to $50 and can be .

 Ayslum Fight League Trump Marina MMA amateur event NJ


















 Full Fight Card

Tajuddin Abdul-Hakim 3-1 Cruiserweight
(183-189.9 lbs.)
4-0 Pat Enright
Universal MMA   TITLE FIGHT   Hassett/Balance
Joe Difranco 1-0 Super Middleweight
(160-166.9 lbs.)
1-0 Sean Nolan
Daddis Fight Camps       Tiger Schulmann’s
Pete Burdge 3-0 Super Middleweight
(160-166.9 lbs.)
1-0 Stephen Regman
Pellegrino MMA       Tiger Schulmann’s
Billy Dee Williams 1-3 Light Heavyweight
(167-174.9 lbs.)
1-0 Mike Fischetti
Elite Tactical Martial Arts       Tiger Schulmann’s
Ben Ortiz 0-0 Absolute
(250 lbs and above)
1-0 Steve Temple
ATT       Joseki Judo/BJJ
Melvis Figueroa 1-1 Welterweight
(140-146.9 lbs.)
1-0 Greg Belardinelli
Gigueto BJJ       Tiger Schulmann’s
Dave Vennario 0-0 Featherweight
(122-125.9 lbs.)
1-0 Jovany Alvarez
Pellegrino MMA       Tiger Schulmann’s
Craig Thieme 1-1 Super Lt Heavyweight
(175-182.9 lbs.)
2-0 Bob Meyer
Pellegrino MMA       Middletown MMA/Cabeca
John Benedict Jr. 0-0 Super Middleweight
(160-166.9 lbs.)
0-0 Brandon VonCLeave
Seitouha Karate System       Camp Undefeated
Mike Benoit 2-0 Welterweight
(140-146.9 lbs.)
0-0 Alex Bruzzese
Bellmore Kickboxing       North NJ MMA
Vince Sinclair 1-3 Light Heavyweight
(167-174.9 lbs.)
0-1 Aaron Wilson
Universal MMA        
Chris Cirello 0-0 Middleweight
(154-159.9 lbs.)
0-0 Blake Nicosia
North NJ MMA       NJ National Guard
Mike Riley 1-0 Super Welterweight
(147-153.9 lbs.)
2-2 Ron White
Taurus MMA       Team Vicious
Sam Davis 0-0 Super Heavyweight
(210-249.9 lbs.)
0-0 Dave Kupusnick
Locicero       XFC/The Cage
Ali Loukzada 0-2 Welterweight
(140-146.9 lbs.)
0-0 Chris Digorgio
The Federation of Vadha Kenpo       Middletown MMA/Cabeca
RJ Starace 2-2 Super Lightweight
(135-139.9 lbs.)
6-0 Julio Arce
Jersey Shore MMA / Rhino NJ   TITLE FIGHT   Tiger Schulmann’s

Steroids and MMA

Steroid use is a hot topic in sports today. Is he “juicing” or isn’t he? Are his muscles all-natural? Recently, it’s an issue most associated with baseball and the recent Congress hearings on steroids.  Those hearings connected nearly 90 players to steroid use. If you’re successful in a professional sport, expect to answer accusations of steroid use.


Generally, steroids are banned because of negative side effects and health risks they can cause, the effect that professional athletes’ steroid use will have on younger and impressionable athletes and to make play fair for all participants.

With the rigorous training that MMA fighters go through, it’s to be expected that they will be muscular; it’s their jobs. While accusations are flying around in all sports that an athlete is on steroids, UFC and MMA are no exception.


In June 2007, a report from California State Athletic Commission said that Royce Gracie tested positive for anabolic steroids. Gracie has reportedly denied the claims that he’s used steroids. Gracie was suspended until May 2008 and was fined $2,500, which was the maximum penalty for the state of California.


Around the same time, fighter Johnnie Morton failed his pre-fight drug test, which came back positive for high testosterone levels. EliteXC fighter Tim Persey’s drug test found amphetamines in his system. Persey was charged $1,000 and was suspended for six months. In March 2009, Ken Shamrock was suspended for a year after he tested positive.


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California enacted a new steroid policy in December 2008 which complies with the standards of the Olympics and the World Anti-Doping Agency, who will perform the tests. The new policy for MMA and steroid use tests fighters for every match.


With the policy, all fighters will be tested for steroid use that are participating in major matches. For fights of less importance, random fighters will be tested for recreational drug use.


New bylaws are in early stages of passing and propose that fighters be tested all year, allowing fighters who use steroids in the off-season or pre-season to be caught.

“If this testing forces people to deal with issues ahead of time, it may allow their families to have more time with them, save them from health problems in later life or even premature death,” Bill Douglas, assistant executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission and in charge of operations said.


WADA’s testing lab, located at UCLA, also performs tests on athletes from leagues such as the NFL.

The NFL’s steroid policy states that a player may be tested as many times as 24 every year. Players that test positive for the first time are suspended without pay for four games. If the player continues to test positive in the future he may be released from the NFL.


While these two policies are different, they are both effective in cutting back steroid use– for now.  Until the negative side effects overtake the positive ones, expect athletes to continue to use despite the risks it could give their sports career.


Although most people associate steroids with substances like Human Growth Hormone or Anabolic Steroids, other substances, such as caffeine, are classified as steroids and are banned in some sporting events. Amphetamines and alcohol are also often prohibited substances.


Most use HGH and Anabolic Steroids to increase their strength and muscle mass, reduce the recovery time needed between workouts and reduce body fat.


When using steroids, other negative effects often occur that one might not have bargained for.


Anabolic steroids are said to cause heart problems, liver disease, blood clots, tumors, certain types of cancer and aggressive behavior. HGH brings joint swelling and pain, and a risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetes to its users.


However, these side effects are often disputed and few studies have been done to show the long-term effects of steroids.


Because nearly all fighters are extremely health conscience, they’re aware that using steroids brings the possibility of decreasing their health, including the numerous lasting side effects.


So, why are athletes still using steroids? Of course, they’re by no means capable of miracles. They won’t turn athletes into mega-super athletes. Regardless, they’re effective in building muscle quickly; in a few days you can notice a difference at the gym—in strength, endurance and motivation. But is it really worth it?

New fighter takes MMA by surprise

Every once in awhile, a new athlete bursts onto the sports scene that takes everyone by surprise.  There have been unexpected stories of overcoming adversities and achieving success that can’t help but make you smile and think, “Well, maybe if he could do it, then so can I!”


Plenty of fighters make their professional Mixed Martial Arts debut every year.  Not many of them do it with just one arm.


Fighter Nic Newell has had to overcome a physical disability that he was born with in order to achieve his dreams of fighting for the UFC.  Although his left arm ends after his elbow, he chooses not to wear a prosthetic.


Newell’s disability hasn’t deterred his will and determination to fight.


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Newell, 23, faced his first professional lightweight fight on June 20 and defeated Dan Ford in a Cagefighting Xtreme event in Plymouth, Mass.   Newell won by a technical knockout (TKO), three minutes into the first round.  Before going professional, Newell had a 2-1 amateur record and has been turning heads ever since.


Previously, Ford’s professional record was 1-2, according to


Former National Amateur Fight League 155lb championship winner Newell may have a disadvantage when it comes to fighting, but he doesn’t think of it in that way.


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“Regardless of whether I have a disability or not, I always want to win and be the best,” Newell said in an interview with Fanhouse.  He attributes his success to determination, ability to adapt to adversity and perseverance to achieve his dreams.   


He also stated that throughout his career, he hopes to show that people with disabilities can be successful, and to not give up on your goals.



Before fighting in MMA events, Newell was an all-state high school wrestler and won over 150 matches.  Newell also captioned the team.  After high school, he went on to wrestle in college at Western New England College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication. 


He became interested in MMA after he saw the sport on television and then went to witness it live.


Today, Newell splits his training between Fighting Arts Academy and the Ultimate MMA Training Center, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, respectively. 


Check out Nick Newell’s personal MySpace page here.


10 Things you should know about MMA

With the world of Mixed Martial Arts growing more popular by the day, there are many misconceptions about the sport.  Here’s setting the record straight.


10.  MMA has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks.

Around 600 BC, the Greeks started a new sport in their ancient Olympic Games.  This new sport, Pankration (meaning “all powers”) combined the elements of wrestling and boxing into one sport.  Similar to today, matches were fought in rings and were won by knocking your opponent unconscious or through submission by the opponent raising his hand.


9.  Many believe that fighters fast to lose weight in days before an event, but most chose to lose it in a healthy way.   Fighters often lose the weight inflatable tents through different ways.  Some use diet and exercise, while others go sweat it out in the sauna.  Seemingly, most fighters are dedicated to a healthy and natural diet all year, as to avoid the last minute weight loss.


8.  Some fighters say the biggest mistake you can make is not being humble.  In an interview with MMA frenzy, Cole Miller said that not being humble often leads to a humiliating loss, making a fighter want to rethink his career choice.


7.  MMA is a team sport– a fighter’s team, staff and trainers are the force behind the fighters.  They’re the people closest to the fighter; after spending hours a day in training, they’re often thought of as family.  Fighters and coaches often give their all to each other, which has been a winning combination in the world of MMA.


6.  UFC champs gets to keep the belt.  UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez supposedly tried to sell his belt on Ebay in 2008 to raise money for a local school.


5.  The first publicized “MMA” event was in China in 1909 between British boxer Hercules O’Brien and Chinese martial artist Huo Yuan Jia.  The fighters had a hard time agreeing to the rules of the match, but they decided that whoever could knock down the other would win. 


The 2006 movie Fearless, is loosely based off of this fight and focuses on Yuan Jia’s life, who is arguably one of the most famous Chinese martial artists of all times.


4.  Thought Cub Swanson got knocked out quickly in June 2009 by Jose Aldo?  His eight seconds before knockout is a century compared to the knockout of Lautaro Tucas by Chris Clements in three seconds back in 2006.


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3.  UFC continued to grow in popularity in the mid 90s, when they promoted their fights as “the bloodiest fighting you’ll ever see.”  Critics referred to it as “human cockfighting.”  Interestingly, the sport’s death rate is extremely low; its death count is currently being debated.  Some reports, for example state there are no deaths in the sport’s history, others, such as, say one death has occurred. 


2.  MMA is one of the most regulated sports in the world.  With numerous rules and judges, in addition to set time limits and amount of rounds, the league’s concern for the fighters’ safety is most important.  The regulation system is under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts and includes over 30 rules.  Many of these rules are similar to those used in Olympic events.


More precautions are taken with fighters than with many athletes from other sports.  Medical teams are present at every fight, and fighters often receive MRIs both before and after fights.


1.  MMA fighters have been successful collegiate athletes and Olympic athletes; the first ever being Mark Schultz, who received a gold medal in wrestling during the 1984 Olympic Games.  Schultz fought one MMA fight before returning to coach wrestling at the collegiate level.


Other Olympic athletes and MMA fighters include Rulon Gardner, Kevin Jackson and Kenny Monday.  Most have only fought in several matches.


To learn about the misconceptions of the dangers of UFC, click here.

To read more about the quickest knockouts, click here.

From UFC 1 to 100: Evolution of the UFC

To see athletes of different or similar fighting practices challenge each other – that has always been the goal behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

That goal has come a long way since the UFC’s conceptual development in 1991. The original concept was a single event tournament to discover the world’s best fighting style. The tournament aired in 1993, and was a mini-success, with nearly 90,000 Pay Per View buys. At the time the tournament aired, the entire concept of “mixed martial arts,” as we know it today, did not really exist. The tournament placed athletes of only one fighting art against each another, pitting boxers against Karate, and wrestlers against jiu jitsu and everything in between. Most times, fighters did not know what to do to handle the other opponent as they had never faced someone of that particular art, and the matches were often lacking in entertainment value. Another problem also existed. There were no weight classes, usually setting opponents together with huge size differentials. While this proved to be entertaining at times, this was not practical, especially if the UFC had any desire to be a legitimate organization.

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Due to its success, the UFC became a recurring tournament, but many aspects of the tournament needed to be addressed. With a tag-line that read “there are no rules!” and “fighting techniques” such as hair pulling, groin strikes and head butting allowed; the UFC had to revamp it’s entire concept if there was any hope in becoming a permanent fixture in the sporting community.

The tournament had aired five times but in 1995, it started to gain negative popularity, attracting wide press coverage from all over the nation, most of it very unfavorable. Political action was quickly taken against the UFC, and Senator John McCain led the campaign, calling the UFC “human cock fighting.” It was dropped shortly after by major cable and pay per view providers, and in 1997, 36 states had banned no-holds-barred fighting. The UFC was launched into the abyss of sports, thought by many to never be seen again.

However, in response to all the criticism, and much to the surprise of many, the UFC began to cooperate with state athletic commissions. The transformation of the UFC into a legitimate sporting event began to take place. The rules were revamped, eliminating the “dirty” aspects of the tournament like hair pulling, groin shots, and head butting, as well as putting an emphasis on the core elements of the UFC as we know it today; striking, grappling, and punching. With UFC 12 came the introduction of weight classes, UFC 14 mandatory gloves, UFC 15 the banning of strikes to the back of the head and neck, and UFC 21 the introduction of 5 minute rounds. By 1999, the UFC had evolved into a full-fledged sport, almost ready to be accepted by both politicians, and the sporting community. With UFC 28 in 2000, the final step was taken in legitimizing the UFC as an athletic organization, and the New Jersey State Athletic Commission sanctioned the event.

In 2001 the UFC was sold to Zuffa LLC and Dana White. With UFC 33 in September of that year, came it’s returned to main stream cable television and PPV. With effective advertisement and a partnership with the Spike TV network in 2005 for the development of the currently running show, The Ultimate Fighter, now in season 9, the UFC quickly gained mainstream popularity.

On July 11th, UFC 100 is scheduled to take place, and will mark a very important milestone for the UFC. Sixteen years and 100 events since its creation in 1993; from a no-holds-barred tournament with sumo wrestlers and kick boxers to what it is known as today. The card will be headlined by Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar. Ten other fights are on both combined main, and undercard, for an event that is sure to out do the last; something the UFC seems to accomplish with all their recent events.

Despite much adversity, the UFC is the quickest growing sport in American and a far cry from its early no-holds-barred days. It is no longer just a tournament but a multimillion dollar organization and mainstream sporting event. The fighters that participate in the UFC are no longer athletes of two very different fighting arts. This current generation of fighters has a very mixed array of skills, and study everything from wrestling to Jiu Jitsu. The UFC is beginning to reach global audiences, and recently held its first event, UFC 99 early this month, in mainland Europe. With good fights, smart advertising, and entertaining television, the UFC’s future is very bright.

WKU Warrior Challenge in the Poconos

Central Pennsylvania Warrior Challenge will host its next amateur MMA event on June 26, 2009 at the Inn at Pocono Manor.   The 18-fight event will begin at 7 PM.  General admission tickets are priced at $35 while VIP tickets are set at $55.  For more information, check out the competition’s website or contact the promoter, Mark Jovich, at 717-250-8841 or

Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo: The Age Old Test


The increasingly expanding fan base of the fastest growing sport of the last decade, is about to make another major expansion. The UFC’s next event, UFC 99 The Comeback, is scheduled to take place in Germany, making this UFC event the first ever to take place in mainland Europe. With one of the UFC’s most promising events, comes an exciting fight card filled with UFC superstar hopefuls and jam-packed with talent and excitement. Among the most exciting fights on the main card is the heavy weight bout between Cain Velasquez of San Jose, California, and Cheick Kongo of Paris, France. In a card packed with exciting bouts, the heavyweight fight between Velasquez and Kongo is a stand out. 

Many eyes of the mixed martial arts world are focused on Cain Velasquez.  Velasquez, a 26 year old Mexican-American who is undefeated in the UFC with five wins all by way of knock out, has a heralded high school and collegiate wrestling background. A two-time state wrestling champion from Kofa High School in Arizona, he also was a junior college national wrestling champ at Iowa Central Community College, and a two-time All-American at Arizona State University. Velasquez is young, exciting, and full of potential.

Cheick Kongo is a 34 year-old Frenchman and a longtime established legitimate contender in the heavyweight division. He was brought in as a replacement for Heath Herring who had to withdraw from the fight due to illness. Kongo was a former kick boxer who went 19-2 before he entered the UFC in 2006 at UFC 61, and was already 7-2-1 in MMA bouts. He has since proven to be a legitimate force in the heavyweight division, having amassed a career UFC record of 14-4-1.

Kongo will be Velasquez’s biggest challenge yet, and one of Velasquez’s major stepping stones in becoming a UFC sensation. Velasquez knows this and has prepared himself for a war. In a recent interview with popular sports blog and news site, FANHOUSE, Velasquez made it clear that he was aware of the challenge ahead. In response to the question of Kongo being his toughest test yet, Velasquez let us know his feelings on the matchup, “Yes. I think with every fight it’s gotten tougher for me, and Kongo is on a winning streak and is my toughest fight to date, for sure.”

All eyes will be watching on June 13th when UFC 99 makes history at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, and those eyes will be particularly focused on Velasquez – Kongo. Velasquez being a wrestler, naturally looks for take down and submission opportunities. He has a large gas tank and prefers to wrestle it out on the ground, forcing his opponents into submission and then pounding them with punches. Kongo prefers to keep the fight off the ground until he can make a finishing move.  Having a large kickboxing background, Kongo trades punches with most of his opponents until they go down, at which point he smothers them on the ground with punches, elbows, and hammer fists. It will be very interesting to see which style has the upper hand in this fight: the punch and distance approach or the ground game. 

Although they are not headlining the event, their fight is sure to be one of the most exciting of the night on a main card and undercard with six scheduled fights. Their fight is the classic test of age and experience against youth and vigor. Velasquez will either persevere and prove to all UFC fans that he is the real deal, or Kongo will show that he still has what it takes to be a major contender in the sport.

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When they meet this Saturday, June 13th, order the fight on Pay Per View, or watch the round by round coverage on ESPN.

Brown, Faber rematch shows best of MMA

WEC Brown Faber

The first fight I ever watched converted me into a follower.

I never watched any type of Mixed Martial Arts match from start to finish. Fighting just wasn’t something I had considered to be entertaining. I’d linger when I channel surfed, but all it was to me at the time was a bunch of scary-looking guys beating each other up; it was something I never really saw myself getting into, despite being a sports nut.

But after watching overly dramatic commercials on the rematch between Mike Brown  and Urijah Faber being the fight of the year, I just had to see what all the fuss was about. And boy, did I find out.

After five rounds of action-packed punches, elbows and kicks, Brown defeated “California Kid” Faber by unanimous decision.

The upset of last year’s World Extreme Cagefighting Championship by Brown over Faber was unexpected and led Faber to say he was “eager to get some redemption,” as said to the WEC.

The rematch of this fight took place Sun., June 7, at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. and was much anticipated. The fights leading up to the main event were nearly as exciting. Notably, one match lasted only eight seconds, with Jose Aldo knocking out Cub Swanson with a flying knee.

The match took place in Faber’s hometown, and when he walked into the arena the crowd erupted with cheers. Several times throughout the fight, chants of “Faber, Faber!” could be heard. Despite this, Brown came away from the fight victorious.

“I heard the boo’s coming in and I actually – I almost like it,” Brown said in an interview with “When I’m the hometown guy, when people cheer for me, I almost am nervous, like ‘Oh no, I don’t want to let these guys down.’ But when I’m booed it makes me want to fight.”

Faber arguably took Round 1, while Brown dominated the rest of the fight, and won by unanimous decision after five hard-fought rounds, once again making him the WEC Featherweight Champion.

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After breaking his hand early on in the fight, Faber did a good job of hiding it from the viewers and from his opponent for several rounds, eventually throwing more elbows instead of punches.

About halfway into the fight, Versus announcers called the fight “a classic in the making,” giving credit to Brown and Faber as both being talented and persevering athletes in the MMA world. called the fight “epic” and “one of the most memorable bouts of the year.” called it one of the “biggest events in the history of the WEC.”

This sport got to me for several reasons. It showed strong emotions, determination, mental and physical toughness and extreme athleticism. It had me yelling at the television, screaming “Hit him!” and wondering how in the world the fighters got out of some of those holds (the guillotine and triangle chokes are insane!).

When the fighters teared up after losing or winning, I felt for them. Despite being an individual sport, it was still all about teamwork and supporting all the trainers that helped them get to the fight.

I admire their toughness even when injured. You can’t name too many professional athletes that would continue to play despite breaking a hand.

So, I think I learned my lesson: Don’t judge a sport ‘til you watch it!

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