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UA Fighting: The Gathering

    Sun, 2004-09-05 23:19 — Gumby

    3/16/02

    Ultimately, this card is going to be remembered for what happened outside of the ring as opposed to the show that occurred in it, which is a shame if not only for the damage this has caused the sport`s image in California, but because the show was going very well up until that point.

    Ultimately, this card is going to be remembered for what happened outside of the ring as opposed to the show that occurred in it, which is a shame if not only for the damage this has caused the sport`s image in California, but because the show was going very well up until that point. An eyewitness account of the extra-curricular activities may be found here. However here we are going to attempt to focus on the actual card action out of respect for the fighters, the promoters, and the true fans of the sport.

    The production itself was ambitious with lights, pyrotechnics, a DJ and video screens, although marred by a few technical difficulties. The ring girls, provided by Spearmint Rhino were excellent. Of course, the fights were exciting as hell with a strong card, highlighted by a team versus team challenge, as three contenders from Bob Cook and American Kickboxing`s team took on three contenders from Chris Brennan and Next Generation.

    Cole Escavedo (OTM sponsored fighter) defeated Jay Valencia by triangle choke 45 seconds into the first round. Cole is a Dave Camarillo protégé (who accompanied him to the ring) and was looking to move to 3-0 where as this was Jay Valencia`s debut (who took the fight on short notice after Cole`s original opponent dropped out). Valencia quickly took Cole down but wound up in the latter`s guard. Cole quickly laddered up for a triangle choke, but couldn`t quite secure and as Valencia attempted to escape Cole shifted from armbar to triangle and back again before securing the tapout via the triangle choke. You heard it here first, expect big things from Cole in the future.

    Pat Milihan (AKA) defeats Adam Lynn (Next Generation) by ref stoppage (punches from the mount) at the 4:48 mark of the first round. This was the first match-up in the team battle between AKA and Next Generation. Adam Lynn tried a few submissions, but when Mihihan defended by pounding Lynn each time. Finally late in the round Lynn missed another submission attempt and Mihihan grounded and pounded him, prompting a referee stoppage.

    Roman Goythberg defeats Andre Walker via arm bar in 3:30 first round. Another exciting bout, Roman had MMA legend Maurice Smith in his corner. Entertaining as both fighters were slugging it out on their feet, but when it hit the mat it was all Roman as he secured the armbar for a victory.

    Rich Crunkilton (AKA) defeats Bao Quach (Next Generation) by KO 1:20 second round. The second match-up in the team battle, in this one Rich was very dominant over a game Bo Quach. Early on in the first round the bout was halted to look at a nasty cut below Bo`s left eye, however it wasn`t serious enough to stop the bout. Crunkilton pounded Bao both on his feet and on the ground, and got a standing KO early in the second round.

    Dennis Hallman defeats Buck Greer (Next Generation) by split decision after three rounds. This might have been the biggest controversy of the night had it not been for later events. Hallman was very dominant in the first round, having Greer`s back and looking to secure a choke, however for some reason the referee restarted the match at this point! However bogus that call was, Hallman had little to no offense after that point and Buck Greer (who had far less experience than Hallman) seemed to come alive. The final round ended with Hallman laying in Greer`s guard with Greer dealing out punishment from elbows in forearms. The judges awarded 2/3 the bout in favor of Hallman (judge Eddie Bravo being the dissenting vote). Hallman graciously offered the trophy to Greer and explained to the crowd that he had been on the bad end of some decisions in his career before. (In my opinion I would have called it a Draw. The restart was bogus, but Greer dominated the match from that point foreward.)

    Michael Guymon (Next Generation) defeats Eric Duce (AKA) by KO in 4:32. While the team competition was academic at this point, Michael Guymon (of Team Tapout and one of the more unusual haircuts) still impressed in his debut match mixing it up with strikes on the feet. One flurry knocked Eric Duce to his hands and knees and Guymon followed up by pounding on him until the referee stopped the match. Next Generation celebrated the victory.

    Again, the production of this show was very ambitious and the in ring action was good. Hopefully lessons can be learned from what happened, UA fighting has a chance to put on another show and the sport of mixed martial arts will be given the chance to flourish

    The event had been going wonderfully well up until that point. I was sitting ringside with Eddie Bravo and Cameron Earle enjoying the fights and was remarking this was the most raucous crowd I had ever seen at an event. 4,000 people in attendance, an estimated 60-80 (I've heard numbers as high as 600 however) of them were members of the Mongrol Biker Gang. Apparently, they showed up to support one of their own Rick "the Bad Boy" Slaton in his debut match against Leo "Drago" Pavlushkin. Pavlushkun entered the ring first to a huge chorus of boos and when Slaton entered the ring an equally huge amount of cheers and hollers went up, easily the loudest ovation of the night. Where as Pavlushkin had previous MMA experience and looked focused and ready it was apparent Slaton was nervous. They received referee`s instructions, shook hands graciously and the bout began. The match was largely a slugfest, with Slaton (who gave up 30 lbs) mainly on the receiving end. However, each time it looked like he was in trouble, his fans roared in support and he came back with renewed vigor. During one of these flurries, Slaton inadvertently hit Pavulushkin in the groin and the Russian required time in his corner to recuperate. As the fight was delayed, the crowd (the Mongrol biker gang) began booing loudly and hurling debris into the ring. Unfortunately from where the Mongrols were sitting, much of that debris landed on people in the front rows. Some of the audience members in turn hurled trash back at the Mongrols, and that`s when the trouble really began.
    Suddenly the Mongrols rushed the area the area coming over the barricade separating them from the VIP section and began brawling with either whoever had retaliated against the initial attack, or whoever else happened to be in the way. Most of the audience stood up to watch what was going on, and the brawl actually spilled into the ring, with some of the Mongrols taking swings at Pavulushkin and his corner. The security forces rushed in and attempted to break things up, and many audience members (including the Onthemat crew) were caught in the middle, attempting to protect innocent bystanders, or just trying to get out of the resulting melee. The announcer went on the microphone and appealed for the audience to calm down so they could restart the fight, and for a few brief minutes things actually seemed to calm down as people attempted to take their seats. In the meantime security, fighters and fans were assessing what damage had been caused when something triggered another violent outburst. Over the PA system it was announced the fight was cancelled and pandemonium ensued once again and this time the security forces were clearly outnumbered. Audience members were fleeing for the exit, people were brawling, chairs were flying about and the Mongrol were simply stomping some people from what I could see. Chaos continued to reign as more security forces rushed unto the scene, quickly followed by the police, carrying machine guns and shotguns. What finally dispersed the crowd was the threats of tear gas, and at that point most of the spectators and bikers fled the scene, and those involved with the production of the show, fighters and media like ourselves headed for the relative safety for the trailers. Outside we there must have been at least a hundred officers on the scene armed with machine guns to keep the peace, as well as police helicopters, dogs, the works involved. About an hour afer the whole debacle had started were we able to get to our vehicles and leave for the hotels.
    More on the incident, the event itself (Ultimate Athlete was producing a GREAT event up until this point) and the aftermath in coming days. My sincere condolences and prayers to anyone injured (or worse) in that riot. I obviously don`t have to go into how this is TERRIBLE for our sport and it`s especially frustrating for the true fans, the fighters, the promoters and everyone who supports our sport to have this happen because of a group of outlaws with no respect for sportsmanship, our laws or even human life.

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