Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Piece of MMA History: Ring of Fury 3

It's time for a history lesson. Today's topic: promoter Tom Hafer's Ring of Fury 3, the third installment in a series of top shelf events that featured the best New England had to offer. The first two took place at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts, but on May 3rd, 2003, ROF 3 came to a nightclub in Boston, and the pulsing music and flashing lights made for an atmosphere akin to John Lewis' WFA in Las Vegas. Local superstar Jorge Rivera headlined, patiently waiting to make his UFC debut and taking out last-minute replacement Solomon Hutcherson with a first-round knockout. Rivera's teammate Keith Rockel (who'd pledged to donate his fight purse to help with a member of the MMA community's son's hospital bills) fell prey to up-and-comer Denis Kang's sharp boxing, while jiu-jitsu stud Marcus Aurelio totally handled wrestler David Gardner before submitting him with a triangle in the third, and the late Shelby Walker needed only five seconds to tag Angela Wilson on the chin and send her into dreamland (Wilson would be seeing stars for quite some time backstage after the show). It was a good event - the best of all three ROFs - and sadly, it would be ROF's last. They say those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Well, for the quality product it was, repeating something like Ring of Fury wouldn't be such a bad thing.