Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Over the years there's been a plethora of memorable fights within the ring in the Northeast. But a memorable fight is what you'd expect when two skilled athletes meet - it's what prompted us all to gather there in the first place, eyes trained on the combatants as the referee flits about. However, a spectator brawl outside of the ring... well, that's another story. Most of us don't go to an MMA event expecting to see drunks in the audience scrap. Most of us don't go thinking we'll witness a rumble between fight teams in the parking lot. No, those sorts of things are never planned. They're always spur of the moment, often quick and sudden and ugly, and when the dust settles and security has regained control, fans are a left with the knowledge that tonight - and tonight only - they got a little something extra. Anyhoo, here are the top five Northeast spectator brawls MMA Journalist has been lucky enough to see:
- Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5 - 6/23/2007 - Dante Rivera and Alexis Aquino had a nice, heated battle on the Kimbo Slice/Ray Mercer under card, and if you know Aquino, you know the guy fights with clenched teeth and a heart full of rage. Things took a dramatic turn after the bout, though, when a victorious Rivera gave Aquino's coach the push-face. In the blink of an eye, the cage filled up with members of Rhino Fight Team and Ricardo Almeida's team, and the ensuing Mexican standoff was reminiscent of that scene in "Braveheart" where the two armies meet and lots of people get hacked to pieces. Fatalities: zero.
- Ring of Combat 6 - 4/24/2004 - Fight Factory rising star Eddie Alvarez met up with Pitts Penn badboy Adam Fearon at the Rexplex Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey in an event headlined by a rematch between Chris Liguori and Pete "Drago" Sell. The Philadelphia slugger needed about two minutes to force Fearon to tap out from strikes. However, their respective Fight Factory and Pitts Penn supporters needed slightly more time when the groups clashed in the parking lot after the show. I think someone got smoked by a car, which just proves that whoever brings a motor vehicle to a street tussle wins. Fatalities: zero, but I'm pretty sure getting run over sucks.
- Reality Fighting 7 - 10/16/2004 - Alvarez has tons of fans. So, too, does Chris Schlesinger, and when the two met for the RF 7 main event, those fans were straddling the edge of sanity from the get-go. It was all over between Alvarez and Schlesinger in about a minute, but outside the ring Schlesinger's supporters started going bananas, and one thrown chair later saw security laying down a beating. It was... pretty entertaining. Fatalities: zero, although someone's shirt got ripped and their cigar got stomped.
- UFC 45 - 11/21/2003 - David "Tank" Abbott and Wesley "Cabbage" Correira are just two dudes who like to scrap. Unfortunately, when their bout ended a little over two minutes into the first round, the action continued in the Octagon with both Tank and Cabbage's camp throwing kicks and punches and water bottles at each other. This brawl owns a special place in my heart because it's the only time I've ever seen an audience member brazenly climb into the cage, punch Tank Abbott, pat Cabbage on the shoulder, and escape anonymously into the audience. Credit goes to the Mohegan Sun Casino security for allowing that to happen. Fatalities: only the Mohegan Sun security team's credibility.
- Mass Destruction 3 - 8/4/2001 - Nuri Shakir and John Frankl were engaged in a hotly-contested war when someone threw a chair and a brawl broke out in audience. All eyes turned to watch the throwdown in the crowd, and even Shakir and Frankl (who were clinched against the ropes) stopped to watch. When the brawl was over, the fight in the ring was restarted. Now that's an MMA show! Fatalities: none. Yet.
There's an article on the legalization of mixed martial arts in the Empire State in today's edition of the New York Times. Check it out online here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/nyregion/21martial.html . Local fighters and instructors Bryan Vetell, Carmine Zocchi and Christian Montes have quotes, as does UCL promoter Peter Storm. According to the piece, we may see some movement toward lifting the ban in June.