Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Binky Jones - ROC Lightweight Champ

A Few Words on Ring of Combat 14

The Tournament of Champions – which began back in November and spanned the lightweight, middleweight and welterweight divisions – came to a conclusion this past Friday with three champs crowned. Each weight class of the tourney began with a pool of eight competitors (some of them local, some of them not so local), and though the NJSACB doesn’t allow fighters to compete more than once a night, it was akin to the elimination-style events that captured the imagination of MMA fans in days of yore. Tournaments make for a compelling storyline. Add to that equation the background of each fighter (i.e., who he is and what he’s gone through to get there), and you’ve really got something that reels you in.

There was none more compelling on Friday than the story of James “Binky” Jones. A Baltimore jiu-jitsu specialist, Binky’s been around for years, never more than a journeyman but someone you could always count on for a good scrap. In fact, when he was announced as one of the eight 155-pounders taking part in the opening round, a roster that included a Reality Fighting champ, a few grappling studs and a Team Quest representative, I rated his chances at “pretty damn slim.”

I’ll be darned if Binky didn’t rise to the occasion.

Putting on a jiu-jitsu clinic to dispatch two Midwesterners in the first two rounds, the only man standing between him and the belt was the toughest of the lightweight bunch: IFL veteran Ian Loveland. Binky popped Loveland’s elbow with an armbar three minutes and 17 seconds into the bout.

The video promos highlighted how hard he trained, how much he gives back to the community and what not, but the whole picture, the whole story encompasses a great deal more. Of all those who won at Ring of Combat 14, Binky’s story was the most compelling because of the legion of supporters in red T-shirts, the post-fight hugs and the grin of his proud coach. Ultimately, though, it all came down to this: the journeyman was now the champ.