Sunday, February 12, 2012

UCL Postscript

It started off like just any other edition of the Underground Combat League, but then things unexpectedly took a turn for the "yikes". Today's UCL featured four MMA bouts and one grappling match, and in attendance was Ottavia Bourdain, pro fighter Villi Bello, a writer from, and producer John Moody - and in the second bout, they, and everyone else present, witnessed a fighter getting his leg broken.

It was a freak accident. One guy (Marwin) took another guy's back (Adriano) while they were standing, and Adriano planted his foot wrong and everything gave away. His femur was visibly bent in a way the bone isn't supposed to bend. There was no screaming, no wails or cries of pain. The fallen fighter just grimaced and gritted his teeth.

Peter Storm and Rage Rivas wasted no time rolling Adriano onto a folding table, and he was carted off to the back. EMS was called, and they showed up with about a dozen cops (who didn't care one bit about the show going on and promptly left). Eventually, EMS did their thing, and Adriano was rolled away on a gurney and taken to an ambulance outside (and he was applauded by the crowd as he left).

It wasn't the first time an ambulance has had to come to a UCL. Years ago, New Jersey pro fighter Glenn Ortiz had his arm popped and suffered a concussion at the hands of badass jiu-jitsu ace Rene Driefuss, and Glenn needed to take a trip to the hospital afterwards. But this, this was... yeesh.

There's been about 40 UCLs at this point, and until now no one has ever been injured so badly that they couldn't step out of the ring on their own two feet. Not even when Frankie Edgar went to war with Eric Uresk, or when the 200-pound Kaream Ellington fought the 300-pound Bryan Vetell, or when however many countless fighters got choked unconscious or put to sleep by a punch. I guess what I'm getting at is this was a freak thing, a thing that could've happened at any sanctioned show anywhere else. And Storm and Rivas did their thing without hesitation, taking care that Adriano was moved carefully and that professional medical help was on its way.

One day, when MMA is sanctioned here in New York, there are going to be a few promoters who know what they're doing (because they've done MMA shows elsewhere), and there's going to be a bunch of yahoos who are going to mess things the fuck up. The UCL team, who are working with nothing in a state that doesn't want them around, played the shitty hand they were dealt and didn't fuck things up. When MMA is sanctioned here, the UCL team is going to be among the former.

Anyway, a shoutout to the fighters who shined in the ring, and who hailed from such schools as Team Renzo, Radical Jiu-Jitsu, Asylum Fight Team and Twin Towers Wrestling. You don't get paid to fight in the UCL, you do it to test yourself and for the love of the sport. Win or lose, each and every one of them deserves respect.