Last night Fury Fight Promotions debuted professional MMA in Charleston, SC. They flew in fighters from all across the country from the world's most renown fight camps, and it was sure to be the biggest party of the weekend...or so we hoped.
There was a solid crowd on hand, and they let their voices be heard as the night started a bit slow as the first fight didn't start on time. When it did, it didn't quite start off with a bang as Nathan "The Nasty" Hammers and Sean Young did more laps than around the octagon than 4x4 relay team. Okay, that's a bit harsh. The guys were amateurs trying to take in their first fight under the lights.
After three lack luster rounds, the crowd boos as the horn sounds. The two fighters hug it out as they wait for the decision. At least the crowd was alive and well. Sean Young won via unanimous decision. Fans were happy that we were moving on.
Next up we had Paul “Rocky” Ellis vs. Drew Ridgeway. I know what you’re thinking, no “Rocky” Ellis didn’t come out to the Rocky theme. Yes he did.
And Rocky didn't disappoint, he lived up to his name as Drew Ridgeway lands a massive slam in Round 3 and quickly follows it up with the full mount. Struggling to escape some vicious ground and pound, Rocky Ellis gives up his back and is forced to tap. I guess his fans will have to wait to the sequel to see their hero victorious.
Two fights down...eleven to go. Wow that's a lot of fights. But they seem to be moving along quickly enough.
Random thought of the day, FPP has a solid thing going as presentation is concerned. Fighters come out to a fog machine and lights that are choreographed to their music. Nice.
But back to the fights. The next fight was the second fight for Travis McGruder, who made his debut in Afghanistan. Fans didn't quite know what to make of his super high army covered shorts, but his opponent, Antonio Reyes wasn't laughing as McGruder immediately flattened him out with one hit. The former soldier immediately goes for ground and pound, which Reyes escapes only to be laid out again. This time he isn't so lucky as McGruder gets the win in less than 40 seconds. Wow.
Moving right along, the crowd went nuts for Jeff Tharington in-part for his country music entrance, but more so for his overalls. Those cheers quickly went to boos when he dropped his overalls to reveal a Rebel flag shorts. Errr, moving right along. Tharington was able to win back some of the crowd as he caught his opponent in an arm bar after being on the bad end of a huge slam. Another fight done in 40 seconds. Hmmm.
And after Adrian Belcarriss tried to stop Chris Mc Nally's fists with his face, this was beginning to look like the night was going to fly by. As The Storm broke for intermission, we headed out to interview former UFC Champion Sean Sherk...who the announcer introduced as Sean Shrek. Ouch.
Crowded by fans who looked in awe of the cage fighter, Sean Sherk patiently signed autographs for each and every fan. Some who requested multiple pictures and multiple posses. And we patiently waited for the line to fizzle out so we could step in. And we waited, and waited, and waited. To his credit, Sherk signed everyone's T-shirt and posed for every picture even though the intermission ended long ago and two other fights had taken place. He eventually took time to sit with HitTheRopes.com
Since the intermission was over, and we already missed two fights, Sean agreed to do the interview during the next intermission.
The next fight matched Tim Goodwin and Preston Marks, both fighters only had one loss on their professional record. That's about to change. After a slow first round that had Goodwin resting in Marks' rear naked choke, the second is much more exciting. Goodwin has a great sprawl, which kept him from getting ground and pounded out in the first. But Preston finally finds his mark and sucks him to the ground. Goodwin gives up his back and Marks jumps on. He sinks in the hooks and proceeds to throw blows. He asks the ref after every punch if it's over, and after unanswered punch No. 113 the referee finally agrees.
TakedownNothing much of interest for the next few fights. A couple of bloody noses. But in a hilarious moment, Anthony Christo Doulou nearly comes to tears when Jerod Sanders busts open his lip, hits him with a big slam and chokes him out. After the fight Christo Doulou went to his corner and began punching the cage in pure aggression. If only he did that during the fight. Maybe we'd have a different outcome.
Fast forward to the main event. Some fight fans have gone home, it's after midnight and the program started just over 5 hours ago, others are literally sleeping in their chairs.
Those still alert are yelling, at the play-by-play guy. Not sure who this guy was, but he was three shades of horrible. He didn't say much, but when he finally did, it was very insightful as he yelled out comments like "Sidecontrol," "ooo double leg," and even "he's swimming." What the heck is swimming? It seemed as someone handed him an MMA glossary seconds before the fight. He gave no insight and wasn't entertaining at all.
Well that's not entirely true. Fans began to heckle him, chanting "please shut up" and begging for him to call out his patented phrase "Sidecontrol". The announcer would sometimes give in and say it, to the cheers of the crowd. He looked a bit embarrassed as the harassing chants continued. He said about three words throughout the final fight. And yes, you guessed right again. Sidecontrol was the play-by-play comment of choice.
The main event saw Billy Stamp, of former UFC figher Rory Singer's The HardCore Gym, versus Ran Weathers, of Greg Jackson's camp.
Ran looked super relaxed and came out throwing blows. Stamp tried to have the fight stopped as he said he was on the receiving end of an illegal headbutt. Ran hit him three or four clean times before the referee stepped in.
Round two saw some more clean blows by Ran, but Billy Stamp kicked Ran clean in the ribs that left a huge red bruise under his right arm. The second round ended with Stamp in "Sidecontrol" as he landing elbows and punches from the top.
The third and final round started much like the first, another accidental headbutt. Stamp takes Ran down again and switches back and forth from "Sidecontrol" and full guard, much to the dismay of the fans. When Stamp stepped back so they can stand, Ran remained on the canvas. Stamp jumped back into "Sidecontrol" as they battled for position until the bell sounded as the fans booed and chanted to stand them up. Stamp won via decision.
Ran WeathersHitTheRopes.com caught up with Ran after the fight, and he disclosed that the kick to rib really messed him up and he had to fight just to remain in the bout. This was the game changer as he didn't feel he could stand anymore, a far cry from the man who said on Wednesday (on Hit The Ropes Radio) that he would try and knock Jesus Christ out if he was put in front of him.
Instead, when given the chance to stand in the third he remained on the mat because he felt he was down two rounds to none and needed to tap him out.
As he walked back to the back with security, he turns to the FPP security and asked why he's with him now. Where was he when he was in the cage? The security guard just chuckled. Ran's mother came up to tell him good fight, he posed the same question to her. She laughed as well. At least Ran still had a great sense of humor.
Overall, the night seemed to drag on a bit. It lasted for five hours and fight fans that stayed throughout didn't leave wowed. The fights were okay. Fans love to see the knockout and tap out, but tonight they came in under one minute and they didn't get to fully appreciate the fight.
On the other hand, the presentation was solid. Fighters came out to smoke machines and lights synchronized to their music. That was pretty cool as they tried to give off a rock concert mixed with MMA effect. They also had two flat screens to air the fight to ensure there wasn't a bad seat in the house.
They could've done better with the play-by-play guy. He seemed clueless as far as the action was concerned. But that went from frustration to entertainment throughout the night as the fans were messing with him for the rest of the night.
FPP will be holding their next event out of state. It will be interesting to see if they return for a second show. I hope so. It's always good to see MMA in Charleston. But one local MMA promoter thought the show was less than stellar, telling me that it was all around bad and shined a black eye on MMA in Charleston. He insisted it was not just browbeating the competition and that I would find out soon just what he can bring to the table.
Either way, fight fans win as competition is the breeding ground for great promotions and unbelievable fights.
Sean Sherk Interview with HitTheRopes.com
Sean Sherk: Hey how's it going? What do you think of the fight?
HTR: So far so good. It seems the crowd is really into it and surprisingly educated to what's going on. They're cheering at all the right times, not booing when the fight goes to the ground and even yelling instructions to fighters oddly enough.
Sean Sherk: Man, that's a long way from when I started out. They'd be booing as soon as the fight hit the ground. But now a days you can't turn on the TV without seeing a fight, it's everywhere.
HTR: I know, it 's amazing. Well, weren't you scheduled to be fighting on TV tomorrow night? I saw that you were supposed to be fighting Clay Guida on the UFC show on Versus.
Sean Sherk: Nope, I was never scheduled for anything. I've actually had to pull out of two fights due to injury, one last year and another in January, but I've had nothing schedule since. I'm just trying to heal and finally be healthy. I'm sick of training injured. I don't want to go into a fight injured. I just want to be 100%.
HTR: And are you 100% now? Well as close to 100% as you can be. I heard Tito (Ortiz) say that he was happy that he was finally 100% going into his last fight, but when he lost he said that he was actually injured going into the fight.
Sean Sherk: (laughs) Yeah, he always does that. That's just an excuse fighters use to try and find a way out after they loose.
HTR: So do they have any fights set up for you as of yet?
Sean Sherk: No. Actually they're (UFC) just waiting for my thumbs up and for me to call them. I should be fighting again this summer. Maybe in June.
HTR: So what are you doing in the mean time?
Sean Sherk: Ah, just personal appearances just like this. I also do seminar's across the country. Just training. I've also got a couple t-shirt companies.
HTR: That's cool. So what's your plans after you hang up the gloves.
Sean Sherk: Well, I'll probably open a gym, just like every other fighter. But right now I'm just maximizing my exposure. By being on TV there are a lot of opportunities. But I've got a great camp right now, so I'm just training and working to get my belt back. That's my goal to get the title.
HTR: Well, you're still up their in Minnesota right?
Sean Sherk: Yup
HTR: That's the same camp as Brock Lesnar right?
Sean Sherk: Uh, no. He's in the same camp as me. (chuckles) I've been doing this for 15 years so...
HTR: You're right. my bad.
Sean Sherk: But it wasn't a bad show though.
HTR: Yeah, and they brought in some guys from great camps also. Rory Singer has guys here, and we interviewed Ran Weathers last Wednesday and he's out of Greg Jackson's camp.
Sean Sherk: Oh really? That guy was a character. He was talking all throughout the fight. He was saying some crazy things.
HTR: Yeah, even the ref was laughing. And I heard he had something going with the Ultimate Fighter 6.
Sean Sherk: I think they said he was an alternate. But he would have been really interesting if he would have made the show.
HTR: Agreed. Well, thanks for taking the time to let you go. We won't hold you up all night.
Sean Sherk: Thanks guys.