Monday, October 26, 2009

A Piece of MMA History: "World's Best Fighter"

It was a bad night to be a foreigner, but it was a good night if you were a fan of fighting. On February 3rd, 2007, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, a one-shot promotion called World's Best Fighter assembled together a roster of fledgling Asian mixed martial artists and solid American up-and-comers and pitted them against each other in a "Team USA vs. Team Asia" contest. Team Asia got its ass kicked. Future UFC fighter Mike Massenzio played his usual ground-and-pound game against his Japanese foe, grinding out a unanimous decision, while local stud Greg Soto won via armbar and heavyweight everyman Justin Eilers won with a tsunami of knees and punches. The only real competitive bout of the event was Kevin Roddy versus Jong Man Kim - a Korean Top Team rep and the best grappler of the bunch - but "K-Rod" won via armbar with just three seconds left in the first round (the result was later changed to a "no contest" because, well, K-Rod is K-Rod you know). Aside from a few kickboxing match-ups and John Doyle and Brendan Barrett falling out of the ring (their bout was declared a "no contest"), the undercard also featured Team Tiger Schulmann rising star Lyman Good against Renzo black belt Julio Cruz, with Good's superior striking earning him the win via TKO.

Though the the Asian portion of the crowd sat stoic and silent throughout, the American portion of the crowd seemed to love every minute of it. And why wouldn't they? The fights were entertaining. Plus, Team USA kicked ass.