Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How Soon Until History Repeats Itself in New York?

*originally published in Oct ’04 issue of Full Contact Fighter*

Part II

In the modern MMA world, true “style versus style” match-ups are hard to come by now that most cross-train. The bout between the 315-pound judo green belt “Puchy” Landor and 230-pound Five Animal Kung Fu sifu David Sanchez is one of those rare ones. The two trade some heavy, heavy punches - Sanchez utilizing unconventional hand techniques against Puchy’s looping hooks. But it’s all over once Puchy takes it to the ground, as Sanchez seems to have no clue about grappling and can do nothing to counter the heavier man’s armbar. Sanchez taps out at 1:08 into the bout.

When the 151-pound Rene Dreifuss squares off against Richie Torres, the 155-pound freestyle fighter, the crowd once more is raucous. Dreifuss is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and seems to have a huge contingent of friends and supporters for his MMA debut. He makes the most of it. Displaying a smooth and technical ground game, wastes no time taking Torres down and securing side control. A string of knees, a transition to back mount and a flurry of punches to his opponent’s head, and it’s all over. Torres, though clearly game and unwilling to give up, can do nothing to defend himself; the ref steps in at 58 seconds into the match. Dreifuss is victorious.

Of course, in a show stocked with amateurs, not all of the bouts are as technical or competitive. A 150-pound boxer from Gleason’s gym, Lump “Wolf” Rasheen, is supposed to fight, but his trainer is there and won’t permit him to face anyone who might pose a real threat. This is where the 137-pouund Tae Kwon Do-practitioner nicknamed “Iron Will” enters the picture. In what looks more like a mugging than a fight, it takes Wolf just 46 seconds to make Iron Will verbally submit from punches. It is the only blemish on an otherwise entertaining card.

* * *

Bare fists. Knees to the head on the ground. How can limited-rules combat such as this be legal? By pitting amateurs against amateurs, the prohibition against pro fights in New York is circumvented, and events like Manhunt go on without harassment. But the real strides will be made when the fighters can get paid for their efforts.

With a shift in political winds now seeing the sport legalized in California and Illinois, the return of pro MMA to the Empire State might suddenly seem less a flight of fancy and more of a possibility. But what needs to transpire for this to happen? To put it simply, the law banning professional combative sports in New York must be amended or repealed. This task, though daunting, is not an impossible one.

For those who slept through Social Studies class in high school: a bill must be introduced in either the State Assembly or Senate, meet approval in both, and then must be signed by the governor to become law. During this often-tedious journey, bills can be sent to various committees for further evaluation, or they can die on the floor of the Capitol - victims of vigorous debate, or lack thereof. To put things in perspective, during the height of the “human cockfighting” hysteria of 1997, politics saw the bill banning professional MMA passed easily and in nearly record time. But in the age of sell-out shows and record-breaking gate sales in Las Vegas, New Jersey and Connecticut, would a bill lifting the ban face that many obstacles? Considering the revenue opportunities a repeal would open up for New York State, it might not.

So whom do New York MMA fans need to talk to in order to get the ball rolling? In 2004, eight State Assemblymen sponsored bills pertaining to boxing, wrestling or martial arts. They were: Joseph Morelle, representing Rochester county; Clarence Norman Jr, of Brooklyn; James Tedisco of the counties of Saratoga and Schenectady; Anthony Seminerio, of Queens; Steven Sanders, of Manhattan; Frank Seddio, of Brooklyn; Ronald Tocci, of Westchester; and Robert Straniere, of Richmond. Given their recent legislative history, approaching them would be a logical first step. (Note: none of these legislators were available for comment at the time this article went to press.)

Not yet convinced that it might be worth the effort of a phone call to your New York Sate legislator? Then keep this in mind: the model used today in regulating boxing is the Walker Law, a product of the tireless State Senator James Walker. In 1920 he saw the potential for revenue boxing would generate. Boxing is legal due in no small part to him.

* * *

How Soon Until History Repeats Itself in New York?

*originally published in Oct ’04 issue of Full Contact Fighter*

Part III

Dreifuss in no stranger to adversity. A few years ago he was struck by a car and left partially paralyzed - which required surgery and years of rehabilitation. Then, with the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, destroying Marcos Santos’ academy, for a while Dreifuss was without a school. But these obstacles don’t seem have slowed him down much. Indeed, for someone whose life-long dream is to compete in Japan’s Shooto promotion, it seems adversity has only made him thrive.

“The fight itself went exactly according to the game plan my coaches and I worked out,” he says, and goes on to describe some self-imposed adversity. “It was actually much easier than in training. I work out with a really fantastic kick-boxer named Brayner Martinez, who actually cracked two of my ribs in training a week before the fight. My best friend Akira, who is also a great striker, was my strategy coach in that department, and he really pushed me hard. So compared to the nightmarish training I did, the fight wasn’t bad at all.”

As most Brazilian Jiu-jitsu representatives in the local MMA scene hail from the Renzo Gracie Academy, seeing a Machado representative step up is a nice change. His thoughts on the show? “The rules are great, very pure NHB, which is what it’s all about isn’t it? …[Jerry and Peter] treated me with exceptional courtesy, and I am very grateful for the opportunity they gave me. I love the venue, and the set-up was great.”

Another standout at the event is Uresk, whose physique, style and intensity make him Long Island’s version of Sean Sherk. Trained by Yuri Valenski of the Brighton Beach Wrestling Club, and with striking skills picked up at Gleason’s, he seems to be a force to be reckoned with.

“The first fight went exactly as I planned,” he says. “I knew that was going to happen - big takedown and knees, Quinton Jackson-style.” On not having an opponent in for the second half of the MMA tournament, he laments: “I was disappointed I didn’t get to fight again… but I had a good time. I did what I had to do.”

What does the future hold for the diminutive powerhouse? “I gotta finish out my wrestling season and try and go ‘All-American’. After that, I’m turning pro, going out to Vegas for Marc Laimon and Master Toddy, and become the next lightweight champ.”

“I thought it went well,” says Mendez of the show. “The fights were all action-packed. I think Eric [Uresk] is gonna be a rising star. The fighters did really well, and they all proved they have heart.”

“All I care about is having a good show,” adds Storm, who afterwards seems the most battered and bruised of all the fighters. “We’re not going to have the best fighters in the world, we’re not even going to have the best fighters on the East Coast. But as long as everybody comes out and puts their heart into it, and they do what they do, the crowd will be happy and the show will grow and the sport will grow.”

“It is really a shame that no large-scale event is allowed in NYC,” says Dreifuss when asked about his thoughts on having a show here in the Big Apple. “I really hate to travel for a fight, and the opportunity to have a promotion right here in Manhattan, in walking distance from the subway, is just fantastic. I sincerely hope that the political winds shift and allow MMA to grow here.”

If history is any indication, it should only be a matter of time.

"Revelations”: NYC’s Latest MMA Incarnation

*originally published Jun '04 on*

(June 27th, New York City) The reports of mixed martial arts’ demise in New York have been greatly exaggerated, as the latest manifestation of underground combat took the form of “Revelations”. It was a low-profile amateur event (for an in-depth legal analysis on amateur MMA in New York State, see the March 2004 issue of Full Contact Fighter) that saw bare-knuckle clashes between kickboxers and boxers, Tae Kwon Do stylists and judoka, and judoka and submission fighters. With all the action taking place on a mat, and under old-school UFC rules, it was “Fight Club” meets the Gracie “In Action” tapes. Highlights included:

  • Gleason’s Gym’s “Lump” Rasheen scoring three knockdowns and eventually the TKO against pro kickboxer Ricardo Lopez. If Lump commits to MMA, expect some impressive things from him in the future.
  • Spectator Kirt Darius stepping out of the audience to take on judo black belt Peter Storm. Not only did he have balls, but first-timer Darius had the ground skills to back it up.


“Lump” Rasheen (boxing-154lbs) vs. Ricardo Lopez (kickboxing-150lbs)

Lump via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 3:40.

“Puchy” Landor (judo-315lbs) vs. Rajesh Maharaj (Jeet Kune Do-250lbs)

Puchy via armlock at 1:29.

Iron Will (Tae Kwon Do-129lbs) vs. Silk (Tae Kwon Do-150lbs)

No contest due to accidental groin strike.

Silk (Tae Kwon Do-150lbs) vs. Peter Storm (judo-180lbs)

Storm via armbar at 2:48.

Juan Castillo (kickboxing-140lbs) vs. Iron Will (Tae Kwon Do-129lbs)

Castillo via headlock at 2:00.

Kirt Darius (freestyle-175lbs) vs. Peter Storm (judo-180lbs)

Darius via verbal submission due to exhaustion at 10:20.

An “Eruption” of Action

* originally published Apr '04 on*

(April 30th, Lowell, Massachusetts) The Tsongas Arena played host to “Eruption” tonight, and though the turnout was a scant few hundred, this marked the low point of an otherwise impressive debut show. Competitors flown in from as far away as Brazil and Texas to test the mettle of New England’s own stars, and fans who made the trek were rewarded with 11 action-packed MMA bouts. Representatives hailed from Team Elite, Team Renzo, Yves Edwards’ Thugjitsu, and Brazilian Top Team, among others. Highlights of the night included:

  • Jay Hieron’s toughest MMA test yet, as he battled it out with jiu-jitsu black belt and Brazilian Top Team rep Fabio Holanda.
  • Nuri Shakir’s flawless judo, as he sent Marcus Davis sailing through the air to the roar of the crowd.
  • New England’s own MMA hero Jorge Rivera, and the war he waged with the gutsy James Gabert.


Jerry Mosquea (Rodrigo Gracie/Team Renzo-149lbs) vs. Joe Lauzon (Reality Self-Defense-149)

Lauzon at 2:37 of Round One via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes.

Nardu Deborah (Rodrigo Gracie/Universal Self-Defense-160lbs) vs. Ricardo Deborba (ChuteBoxe-156lbs)

Deborah via KO at 3:30 of Round One - an impressive return for Nardu!

Jay Hieron (Bellmore Kickboxing/Rodrigo Gracie-168lbs) vs. Fabio Holanda (Brazilian Top Team-170lbs)

Hieron via unanimous decision - this one was a hard-fought war!

Super-Lightweight Title

Renato Migliacci (Team Renzo-145lbs) vs. Rocky Long (Thugjitsu-145lbs)

Migliacci via unanimous decision.

Lightweight Title

Mark Colangelo (Ricardo Almeida/Team Renzo-155lbs) vs. Matt Lee (Team Elite-155lbs)

Lee via unanimous decision - a great standup battle.

Bryan Bressler (Miletich Fighting Systems-170lbs) vs. Jason Hathaway (USF-169lbs)

Judges’ decision - draw.

Light-Heavyweight Title

Lance Everson (Boneyard-193lbs) vs. Tim Credeur (Thugjitsu-195lbs)

Credeur via armbar at 3:02 Round One. Everson popped his own arm out of his elbow trying to escape Credeur’s picture-perfect armlock from the bottom.

Welterweight Title

Marcus Davis (Miletich Fighting Systems-167lbs) vs. Nuri Shakir (Team Elite-170lbs)

Shakir via rear choke at 2:38 of Round Three. Another great fight by Shakir!

Fabio Leopoldo (Team Renzo-204lbs) vs. Brendan Seguin (MASH-197lbs)

Leopoldo via doctor stoppage at :43 of Round One - a bout-ending cut brought this one to an abrupt end before it barely even began.

Sam Hogar (Miletich Fighting Systems-247lbs) vs. Chris Herring (Gorilla Nation)

Hogar via side choke at 2:37 of Round One. With pinpoint accurate high-kicks and a smooth string of submission attempts from the bottom, Hogar looked extremely impressive.

Middleweight Title

Jorge Rivera (Team Elite-185lbs) vs. James Gabert (Ricardo Almeida/Team Renzo)

Rivera via ref stoppage (a flash-KO) at 4:10 of Round 3 - a scrappy performance by Gabert and dominant performance by Rivera. Get this man back in the UFC!

Ring of Combat VI: Total Devastation

*originally published April '04 on*

(April 24th, Elizabeth, New Jersey) Close to two thousand spectators came to the Rexplex Sports Complex tonight to witness some MMA action, and Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat 6 gave it to them in spades. With only one bout going to the judges’ cards, fans were treated to a few hard-fought victories mixed with total devastation, and representatives hailed from Pitts Penn, the Serra/Longo Competition Team, Fight Factory and Team Tiger Schulmann, among others. Highlights of the night included:

  • Team Tiger Schulmann pitfire Mike Murray’s relentless barrage of punching, as it swiftly turned the tide of battle into his favor against crafty grappler Glenn Ortiz.
  • Team Endgame/BAMMA slugger Carlos Moreno’s fists - one clean punch was all it took to make Erik Shaver’s eye swell shut, bringing an end to the bout and garnering Moreno the heavyweight belt.
  • The long-awaited rematch between Serra/Longo Competition Team’s Drago and Pitts Penn’s Chris Liguori. This fight was all back-and-forth action, but it was Drago’s much-improved hands that proved the deciding factor this time around, as he stunned Liguori on the feet and finished business on the ground.


Mike Murray (Team Tiger Schulmann-137lbs) vs. Glenn Ortiz (Wrestling Plus-138lbs)

Murray via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 3:51 of Round One.

Adam Fearon (Pitts Penn-184lbs) vs. Eddie Alvarez (Fight Factory-170lbs)

Alvarez via tapout due to strikes at 2:06 of Round One.

Jay Hieron (Bellmore Kickboxing/Rodrigo Gracie-170lbs) vs. Fernando Munoz (BAMA/Team Endgame-167lbs)

Hieron via tapout due to strikes at :33 of Round One.

Bret Perchaluk (SBG Hamilton-152lbs) vs. Jesse Moreng (Team Tiger Schulmann-152lbs)

Moreng via tapout due to strikes at :50 of Round One.

Jon McCaffrey (SBG Hamilton-204lbs) vs. Jordan Pergola (Bellmore Kickboxing/Rodrigo Gracie-204lbs)

Pergola via tapout due to strikes at :13 of Round One.

Luke Cummo (Serra/Longo-173lbs) vs. Josh Koscheck (American Kickboxing Academy-175lbs)

Koscheck by unanimous decision.
Ring of Combat Heavyweight Title

Erik Shaver (Bellmore Kickboxing-265lbs) vs. Carlos Moreno (BAMA/Team Endgame-260lbs)

Moreno via verbal submission at :31 of Round Two - congrats to the hard-hitting Ring of Combat champ!

Ring of Combat Middleweight Title
Chris Liguori (Pitts Penn-182lbs) vs. Pete “Drago” Sell (Serra/Longo-186lbs)
Drago via rear choke at :41 of Round Three. Once again, these two had the fight of the night!

New York MMA: Revisited

*originally published in the Dec ’04 issue of Full Contact Fighter*

Part I

The canvas is stained with blood and sweat. The exercise equipment is rusty and held together with duct tape. The place stinks of years of hard work and dedication. It’s Sunday night in a decrepit boxing gym in the South Bronx and the 60 or so spectators are getting inpatient. They’ve come from all over the city to witness what the educated would call mixed martial arts and what ignorant label as “human cockfighting”, and the show (dubbed “Ground Zero”) is now an hour and a half behind schedule. Word of mouth has brought them here, word of mouth and a desire to see some action. It’s a type of competition that’s been banned in New York State since 1997, but that ban hasn’t stopped it from evolving into a sport now accepted in most states and sanctioned by the boxing meccas of Nevada and New Jersey. Last year, kickboxing and MMA shows were inexplicably shut down all over New York – shows that had gone on unmolested for years. So what happens when the state refuses to sanction them? The fights go underground.

A fried chicken leg with a slice of white bread can be had for a dollar (hot sauce is free), and some people snack as the promoter scrambles to get more fighters. Thus far there’s a Muslim Tae Kwon Do specialist, a kickboxer from Jackson Heights, and a wrestler who just moved here from Baltimore. They wander around looking anxious and ready to scrap. The promoter, Peter Storm, originally had seven fights booked, but most of the competitors are no-shows. This leaves him high and dry. Enter: Kaream Ellington, a trained and chiseled fighter hailing from Combined Martial Arts in Queens. Ellington lives two subway stops away and has only come here to watch, but with some pro matches in New Jersey under his belt, he’s the closest thing to a local MMA stud most of these Bronx natives have ever seen. Immediately, Storm is all over him, begging him to step into the ring.

Without a sanctioning body to lay down some guidelines, the rules are really up to whoever puts on the show. But this event isn’t as much like “Fight Club” as it’s like the early days of the UFC. There are no weight classes, the time limit for each match is 15 minutes, and gloves are optional. The referee (Eddy Rolon - himself a very experienced pro-fighter from New Jersey) has insisted on mouthpieces for each competitor, although they can wear track pants, long-sleeved shirts or whatever. The first bout begins with the Storm – who’s also a judo black belt – squaring off against the kickboxer. Donning a blue gi, Storm rushes in and throws the shorter man to the canvas, then chokes him. The man on the bottom taps the ground in submission. It’s over in a minute and half, and as the referee separates the two combatants, the crowd cheers. The kickboxer is fine. He gives Storm a hug and they pat each other on the back.

The next bout lasts longer, with the wrestler going at it with a “freestyle” fighter. During a break in the action to remove someone’s unraveling handwrap, the out-of-breath combatants share a water bottle. The audience gives them a round of applause for their sportsmanship.

New York MMA: Revisited

*originally published in the Dec ’04 issue of Full Contact Fighter*

Part II

People walk in and take seats. Each person who arrives might be an undercover cop or Athletic Commission representative ready to call an abrupt end to the show, but Storm seems unconcerned. He’s still trying to convince Ellington to do him a huge favor and get into the ring. At six minutes in, the wrestler submits to a choke. As the ref separates the two, Ellington – despite nursing a hamstring injury and not having trained at all – finally agrees.

In the “locker room” (which is nothing more than a room upstairs with some battered chairs and tables), the pro gets ready as a radiator hisses and drips nearby. Downstairs, two more combatants go at it. Another freestyle fighter chokes a Tae Kwon Do guy until he gives up. It takes less than a minute. When they climb through the ropes and step down into the audience, the Tae Kwon Do stylist’s corner admonishes him for not just “pushing him off you and punching.”

His hands wrapped, his face set with determination, it’s Ellington’s turn now. He and his opponent, Felix Rodriguez, make their way into the ring. Rodriguez stands six-foot-one but weighs only 137 pounds. He faces off against Ellington in a match-up that would never happen in New Jersey or Nevada because the weight difference. The pro fighter takes off his shirt to reveal muscles that look like they’re carved out of stone. The crowd “oohs” and “ahhs”. Rodriguez is brave, and appears determined to put up a fight, but Ellington is never in any danger. For a minute and a half he batters the lighter man with his fists as they jockey for position on the canvas. Rodriguez’ corner throws in the towel and it ends. Sporting a few cuts and bruises on his face, he starts grinning once he catches his breath.

Now there’s only one bout left to go. Having won their respective matches in the impromptu four-man elimination tournament, Storm and Ellington square off - the judo black belt versus the pro. The two mix it up for a little more than three and half minutes while the audience cheers and hoots and hollers. Suddenly, Ellington torques the Storm’s arm until there’s a pop in the elbow joint. Storm submits.

It’s over. Slowly, the crowd filters out. “He broke my arm, yo,” Storm whispers to a friend. Nursing his elbow, he heads off to the emergency room at the nearby hospital. Ellington unwinds upstairs. The gym owners start packing up the chairs. Five fights went off and no one suffered any serious harm. Everyone seemed satisfied with what they saw. And most importantly, the police never showed to close Ground Zero down. As underground shows go, this one is a relative success.

* * *

New York MMA: Revisited

*originally published in the Dec ’04 issue of Full Contact Fighter*

Part III

“We have no jurisdiction over amateur events,” says Jerome Becker, who is one of the three commissioners on the New York State Athletic Commission. “We only have jurisdiction over events where the competitors are paid.”

When Becker speaks, he speaks sympathically on the plight of kickboxing and MMA in his state. But the law is the law, as the saying goes, and in New York the law prohibits professional “combat sport” events. In shutting down the shows, the NYSAC is just doing its job (a job mandated by the Legislature – who drafted are responsible for drafting the law). “I can’t tell you how many calls we got,” says Becker on the fallout his office had to deal with. “The sport was sort of hamstrung by the legislation, and we were limited by the statute.”

All is not doom and gloom for promoters, fighters, and fans, however, for Becker claims more favorable legislation looms on the horizon. “We’ll basically be deregulating it,” he says, “making it easier for people to do it.” He adds: “We’ll deregulate it like we did with wrestling. You know, the whole ‘free market’ concept.” And when can we expect this deregulation of professional combat sports to happen? “I hope some time after the summer. But,” he cautions, “in terms of the State’s budget, kickboxing is not at the top of the list.”

* * *

Ellington had agreed to fight without any concern for money, and even after the show was over had still not spoken to the promoter about it. “If I did make any money,” he says, “it would go towards books anyway.” Besides fighting, he’s also an undergraduate student at New York City Technical College. Ellington has designs on competing for the bigger shows someday – particularly the UFC, which pays its athletes in the thousands for each fight – but he got in the ring in that boxing gym in the South Bronx to help bring locals a taste of his sport. He got in there to show them what a real MMA fighter could do.

“I was happy,” Storm says over the phone a few days later. “Kaream Ellington saved my show.” As it turns out, Storm’s arm wasn’t broken, but he does have to keep it in a sling for a while.

Promising another event in June at a different location (“The boxing gym was good – for a bomb shelter.”), the trials Storm went through to get the first Ground Zero going seems to have given him little pause. Hopefully, his next event will go off at least as well as this one – so the seeds of MMA in New York can continue to grow.

Ring of Combat IV: Fists of Fury

*originally published Dec '04 on*

(December 14, Elizabeth, New Jersey) Fans and fighters alike braved sleet and snow to see Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat V at the Rexplex Sports Complex today, and with all bouts ending with either a flurry of strikes or a hard-won submission, there was action aplenty. Representatives hailed from BAMA/Team Endgame, the Serra/Longo Competition Team, Fight Factory and Team Tiger Schulmann, among others, and each of the 14 competitors left it all in the ring. Highlights of the night included:

  • Team Tiger Schulmann rep Mike Murray’s patience and poise under fire. Opponent Valodia Gevorgyan quickly wore himself out swinging for the rafters, and was put to sleep courtesy of Murray’s tight triangle choke.
  • Fight Factory stud Eddie Alvarez utilizing his wrestling skills to control Anthony Ladonna, and rain down knockout strikes from the mount.
  • BAMA/Team Endgame slugger Carlos Moreno’s furious punching onslaught and opponent Justin Villella’s dogged determination and solid chin, as these two battled to either score the knockout or the takedown. Securing a TKO win, this was another impressive win for Moreno!


Mike Murray (Team Tiger Schulmann-135lbs) vs. Valodia Gevorgyan (Tiger International-139lbs)

Murray via triangle choke at 4:10 of round one.

Anthony Ladonna (Serra/Longo-168lbs) vs. Eddie Alvarez (Fight Factory-166lbs)

Alvarez via KO (punches from the mount) at 3:57 of round one.

Mike Stine (Team Tiger Schulmann-199lbs) vs. Derex Johnson (Team Endgame-201lbs)

Stine via KO at :21 of round one.

Luke Cummo (Serra/Longo-181lbs) vs. Mike Thatcher (Alex Wilkie-186lbs)

Cummo via triangle choke at 1:53 of round two.

Jay Hieron (Bellmore Kickboxing/Rodrigo Gracie-170lbs) vs. Jermaine Johnson (Team Endgame-169lbs)

Hieron via rear choke at 1:02 of round one.

Chris Johnson (Team Tiger Schulmann-167lbs) vs. Rob Copenhaver (Practical Fighting Concepts-160lbs)

Johnson via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 1:21 of round one.
Justin Villella (Villella Fight Team-230lbs) vs. Carlos Moreno (BAMA/Team Endgame-262lbs)

Moreno via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at :39 of round two.

Ring of Combat IV Lights Up Atlantic City!

*originally published Aug '03 on*

(August 15th, Atlantic City, New Jersey) Well over a thousand spectators packed into the Palladium Ballroom here at Caeser’s in Atlantic City, braving power outages and blackouts for a night illuminated by TKOs and submissions. The fourth incarnation of Ring of Combat brought together the best in local talent, and representatives from Team Renzo Gracie, the Serra/Longo Competition Team, Team Tiger Schulmann, Pitt’s Penn, Team Prodigy and Team Endgame gave it their all. Highlights of the night included:

  • Laura D’Auguste picking apart a game Tanya Vlahac with crisp combinations, eventually forcing the doctor to call a halt to the action when Vlahac’s eye became too swollen.
  • Dave Tirelli’s rematch against Luke Cummo - both men gave it their all in a bloody war!
  • Chris Liguori stepping up and testing Pete “Drago” Sell in a close match that saw experience and patience neutralizing grappling dominance in a back and forth ground and pound battle.



Greg Killian (Tri-State BJJ Team-185lbs) vs. Derek Johnson (BAMA/Team Endgame-189lbs)

Killian via split decision after 3 rounds.

Laura D’Auguste (Team Tiger Schulmann-134.5lbs) vs. Tanya Vlahac (134lbs)

D’Auguste via doctor stoppage at 1:58 of round 3.

John Rotendella (Pitts Penn-204lbs) vs. Tom Muller (Team Serra/Longo-209lbs)

Muller via rear choke at 3:37 of round 1.

Edson Carvalho (Tri-State BJJ Team-189lbs) vs. Jose Rodriguez (Pitts Penn-197lbs)

Carvalho via front choke at 1:31 of round 1.

Luke Cummo (Team Serra/Longo-175lbs) vs. Dave Tirelli (Team Tiger Schulmann-174lbs)

Tirelli via unanimous decision after 3 rounds - an all out war!

185-pound Ring of Combat Championship

Pete “Drago” Sells (Team Serra/Longo-184lbs) vs. Chris Liguori (Pitts Penn-182lbs)

Sells via split decision - Liguori is the man for really taking it to Drago in the last round! This was the fight of the night!

189-pound Ring of Combat Championship

James “Angry Snowman” Gabert (Team Renzo Gracie-192lbs) vs. Eddy Rolon (Team Endgame-189lbs)

Gabert via unanimous decision after 3 rounds.

Nick “Mad Monkey” Serra (Team Serra/Longo-170lbs) vs Rick McCoy (Team Prodigy-172lbs)

Serra via flying triangle at 2:58 of round 2.

USKBA Championship Kickboxing
Tim Lane
(Panza Kickboxing-142lbs-USKBA champ) vs. Erik Marshall (141lbs-WKO champ)

Lane via KO (body blow) at 1:59 of round 4.

Reality Fighting 4: Score One for the Little Guy

*originally published July '03 on*

(July 19th, Bayonne, New Jersey) It was another successful night for Kipp Kollar’s Reality Fighting promotion as hundreds of spectators crammed into the Marist High School in Bayonne, New Jersey, to catch some local amateur mixed martial artists mix it up in the ring. On display: scorching hands, unstoppable takedowns, and more than a few chokes that ended up putting competitors to sleep, and rounding out the experience were guest appearances by UFC vets Matt Serra and Phil Baroni, and Pride vet Tim “Obake” Catalfo. Some highlights of the action in North America’s only octagonal-shaped ring included:

  • Combined Martial Arts’ Gus Indjeyiannis making short work of his opponent, tagging Rocco Giordano with combos that sent him to the canvas twice in a little more than a minute.
  • Tap Team’s fierce and extremely strong Hazem Ibrahim, as he scooped up his opponent and nearly threw him out of the ring, only to finish things with a bout-ending slam seconds later.
  • The smaller Planet Jiu-jitsu representative Glen Sandull using superior wrestling to keep Super-Heavyweight champ Carlos Cline on his back for the entire bout - and walking away with the belt despite a nearly 30-pound weight disadvantage. Score on for the “little” guy!


Jay Herien (Bellmore Kickboxing/Team Renzo-170 lbs) vs. Keith Plate (Island Jiu-Jitsu-167 lbs)

Herien by ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 1:28.

Rocco Giordano (Combative Solutions-176 lbs) vs. Gus Indjeyiannis (Combined Martial Arts-184.5 lbs)

Indjeyiannis by ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 1:18.

John Beneduce (Team Renzo/Universal Defense Systems-154.5 lbs) vs. Rob Copenhaver (Practical Fighting-156 lbs)

Beneduce via neck crank at 2:11.

Hazem Ibrahim (Tap Team-204 lbs) vs. Pat Russo (Alex Wilkie’s-198.5 lbs)

Ibrahim via tap out (Russo injured his arm while getting slammed) at 1:07 - Ibrahim is a beast!

Phillipe Nover (Team Renzo/Universal Defense Systems-184.5 lbs) vs. Ronald Stalling (Sekai-185 lbs)

Nover via guillotine at :43 - Stalling was put to sleep!

Brian Jackson (wrestling-180 lbs) vs. Jay Glover (Team Obake- 180lbs)

Jackson via guillotine at 1:04 - Glover was also put to sleep!

Super-Heavyweight Title Bout

Carlos Cline (Jerry Jones - 260 lbs) vs. Glen Sandull (Planet Jiu-Jitsu-234 lbs)

Sandull imposed his will throughout and Cline had no answer for his superior wrestling skills.

Sandull via unanimous decision after three rounds. Sandull is the new Reality Fighting Super-Heavyweight Champ!

Conan Silveira Arrested on Drug Trafficking Charges

*originally published July '03 on*

Former Extreme Fighting heavyweight champ and UFC veteran Marcus “Conan” Silveira was arrested on June 20th by special agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami, Florida. Silveira, along with his brother Marcelo and 13 other people, are accused of being part of a drug smuggling ring that was responsible for bringing in over a million Ecstasy pills into the country from Spain. The case against the MMA pioneer is the culmination of a federal investigation that began two years ago (Silveira’s alleged participation in the smuggling is supposed to have occurred then), and the 15 were indicted and charged with conspiracy to import Ecstasy, possession to distribute Ecstasy, and money laundering. If convicted, these charges could mean up to 20 years in prison, while mandatory sentencing guidelines would likely mean of minimum of three years behind bars.

A founding member of the successful American Top Team, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor’s most memorable outings in the cage include losses to some of MMA’s greatest in Maurice Smith, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Dan Severn.

Ring of Combat III: Heart and Aggression

*originally published Jun '03 on*

(June 7th, Morristown, New Jersey) To the tune of over two thousand spectators, promoters Lou Neglia and Ray Longo’s Ring of Combat III gave some top-notch local boys a chance to shine here at the Mennen Sports Arena - and shine they did. Representatives from Team Renzo Gracie, the Serra/Longo Competition Team, Team Tiger Schulmann, Pitt’s Penn and Ultimate Sambo gave it their all. Highlights of the night included:

  • James Gabert’s heart. As predicted, Rodriguez came to throw down, but with the 185-pound belt on the line it was Gabert’s hand that was eventually raised in victory. At one point, the heavy-handed Rodriguez seemed to have him out, but the “Angry Snowman” held on and soon turned the tide. This was the fight of the night!
  • Elvis Garcia’s overwhelming aggression. Coupled with his accurate punches, this was the deciding factor in the 160-pound championship bout. Garcia is the man at 160 pounds!



Mike Wojcik (Team Freedom-147lbs) vs. Chris DiPaolo (Tong Dragon-157lbs)

DiPaulo via unanimous decision after 10 minutes.

Steve Kim (Team Renzo Gracie-177lbs) vs. Michael Wright (Ultimate Sambo-179lbs)

Kim via triangle choke at 1:46.


185-pound Ring of Combat Championship

James “Angry Snowman” Gabert (Team Renzo Gracie-184lbs) vs. Jose Rodriguez (Pitt’s Penn-185lbs)

Gabert via unanimous decision after three rounds. Gabert is the new Ring of Combat 185-pound champ.

Tom Muller (Team Serra/Longo-205lbs) vs. Eirik Certo (Ultimate Sambo-197lbs)

Muller via rear choke at 2:04 of the round one.

Jay White (Team Renzo Gracie-242lbs) vs. Eric Shaver (Bellmore Kickboxing Academy-253lbs)

White via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 4:17 of round one.

Luke Cummo (Team Serra/Longo-175lbs) vs. Dave Tirelli (Team Tiger Schulmann-175lbs)

Cummo via doctor stoppage (due to a cut above Tirelli’s nose) at :46 of round two.

Pete “Drago” Sells (Team Serra/Longo-187lbs) vs. Derek Johnson (BAMA/Team Endgame-189lbs)

Sells via armbar at 2:03 of the first round. A good showing for Drago, despite a premature referee stoppage that had them restarting in the same position - with Johnson’s arm fully extended.

160-pound Ring of Combat Championship

Nardu Debra (Team Renzo Gracie/Universal Self-Defense-157lbs) vs. Elvis Garcia (Team Tiger Schulmann-161lbs)

Garcia via referee stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 1:34 of round one - his aggressiveness was just too much for Debra. Garcia is now the new Ring of Combat 160-pound champ.

Ring of Fury 3: A Night of Knockouts

*originally published May '03 on*

(May 3, Boston, Massachusetts) It was a night of knockouts here in Boston, as promoter Tom Hafers’ third Ring of Fury incarnation showcased some quick hands and heavy leather. Taking a page from the World Fighting Alliance’s “Fight Club meets the Nightclub” motif, Ring of Fury 3 packed over a thousand fans into a downtown club - and fed those fans a steady diet of techno-music, dancing girls, and MMA action. Highlights of the night included:

  • Shelby Walker’s five-second knockout over Angela Wilson. Did “Shelbygirl” even get to break a sweat?
  • The war between Canadian Denis Kang and Team Elite’s Keith Rockel, which was pretty much even - until Kang planted a right cross square on Rockel’s chin that sent the UFC vet to the canvas. This one was the fight of the night!
  • Solomon Hutcherson’s strong opening assault of top-level fighter Jorge Rivera. After throwing Rivera around with his wrestling skills, Hutcherson rained down some punches - but once they were back on their feet, it was Rivera’s world. Congrat’s to both warriors for really putting on a show.


Kevin Burkes (Animal House-177lbs) vs. Bobby Diaz (Boneyard -175lbs)

Dias via rear choke at 2:04 of the first round.

Joel Blanton (Animal House-178lbs) vs. David Garcia (178lbs)

Garcia via ref stoppage due to cut, at 1:07 of the first round.

Leo Sylvest (Integrated Fighting-186lbs) vs. Emyr Bussard (American Top Team-190lbs)

Bussard via armbar at 4:18 of the first round.

Devion Peterson (Integrated Fighting-196lbs) vs. Jay Thomas (Gillett's Academy-205lbs)

Peterson via KO at :16 of the first round.

Keith Wisniewski (Duneland Vale Tudo-172lbs) vs. Nuri Shakir (Team Elite-171lbs)

Wisniewski via guillotine choke at :46 of the first round - 46 second of furious action!

Shelby Walker (124lbs) vs. Angela Wilson (125lbs)

Walker via KO at :05 of the first round.

David Gardner (157lbs) vs. Marco Aurelio (American Top Team-160lbs)

Aurelio via triangle choke at 4:13 of the third round. Aurelio is now the USMMA Lightweight Champ!

Denis Kang (Marcos Soares JJ-194lbs) vs. Keith Rockel (Team Elite-194lbs)

Kang via KO at 2:59 of the second round - a stunning end to a great fight!

Solomon Hutcherson (Dave Strasser’s Freestyle Academy-205lbs) vs. Jorge Rivera (Team Elite-199lbs)

Rivera via KO at 3:01 of the first round - a good showing for both men. Rivera needs to be in the UFC!