Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Piece of MMA History: Reality Fighting 4

There was a time when checking out a fight show in New Jersey meant showing up to a high school gymnasium, sitting in the bleachers or on a metal folding chair, and watching local dudes throw down.  Such was the case with Reality Fighting 4, which took place on July 19, 2003, at Marist High School in Bayonne.  On that night, Glenn Sandull and Carlos Cline – the area’s two best heavyweights – battled it out in the main event, while future TUF star Phillipe Nover notched a quick win, Hazem Ibrahim conquered, and FoxSports reporter Jay Glazer fell to a submission.  But in retrospect, one of the more notable bouts of the evening was the debut of a 26-year old from Long Island.  He was friends with Phil Baroni, and part of the Hofstra wrestling/anti-jiu-jitsu contingent that existed at the time, and his raw talent and intensity had him utterly crushing his opponent in a minute and a half.  His name was Jay Hieron.  Few who saw Hieron then doubted that he’d go far – he crushed wrestler Jermaine Johnson at ROC 5 five months later, smoked Team Endgame boxing trainer Fernando Munoz at ROC 6, and traveled up to Massachusetts to defeat black belt Fabio Holanda just six days after that.  What followed was a career full of ups and downs – mostly “ups”, with an IFL championship and a stint in Strikeforce in there, although his “downs” included losing to Georges St. Pierre and Jonathan Goulet in the UFC.  Nowadays, you can watch the “Thoroughbred” on MTV2, kicking ass in Bellator’s welterweight tournament.  But it all began at Reality Fighting 4, with Heiron’s dominant performance in the card’s opening bout.