Thursday, August 8, 2013
Frank Fights the Vertically Challenged and goes into Ginger Rage…
When I first started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it was with the intent of competing in the sport of mixed martial arts. As a kid growing up I had dreams of playing in the NBA but when you can’t dunk and have a free throw percentage that would make Shaquille O’Neil look like Dirk Nowitzki on adderall you don’t exactly get scholarship offers from Division 1 schools. Never mind not even making the varsity squad at a 2-A high school in a city that is more notable for being a training ground for undergrad alcoholics and politics that haven’t evolved since the Civil War than it does for churning out world class athletes (at least Beaufort gave the world Joe Frazier). What I gathered from my experience while competing is that Mixed Martial Arts isn’t a sport at all, it’s a business.
Like any business the individuals whom are most successful are the one’s whom are the smoothest kleptomaniacs. They rob you blind but just like that “massage therapist” from Thailand they leave you smiling. The only difference between this business and others is that M.M.A. is the business of two people (of the same sex since they haven’t come up with a wife beating division in the sport yet) trying to inflict physical trauma on one another. Top tier organizations such as the UFC and Strikeforce have a certain level of professionalism that promoters, fighters and officials make an honest effort to adhere to (or at the very least make it look like that way). It is a business after all. Every once in a while a certain fighter will pop positive for performance enhancing substances which explains why some fighters look like they are packing more testosterone than the New York Giants defensive line ( **cough** Christiane “Cyborg” Santos **cough**) while other fighters will figure out ways to skirt the system (Looking your way Allistair Overeem. Seriously, the guy looks like the second coming of a pissed off Bruce Banner with a Dutch accent minus the green tint). The same goes for promoters.
For every Dana White out there that wants to legitimize the sport, there is some douchebag that looks like he prays to a shrine of Don King and has the cabbage to buy a cage with the hopes of turning a quick profit, fighter safety be damned. Most of the time these promoters are about as knowledgeable about the sport as Sarah Palin would be on Quantum Physics and the Higgs Boson. All they feel that is needed is to watch a couple of Dana White’s “Do you want to be a fucking fighter?” rants, make friends with a low grade MMA clothing line, and figure that they have all of the angles covered. At least they have it figured out that if you make all the bouts on the card amateur bouts then you don’t even to pay the fighters or for their medical expenses if they get injured. It’s not like they are doing anything dangerous umm wait a minute, yeah they are. I’m not kidding, you can convince two people to go into cage, try to kill each other, and luckily if they get injured, not even have to have them insured medically which is all perfectly legal to boot.
My previous article on the my experience in the business of Mixed Martial Arts in the Carolinas, “The Fight that Ended My Career”, talked about how promoters like Michael Allen, Scott Crosby, and RedNeckPromoter bend (and at times of their convenience, break) laws in order to line their pockets at the expense of fighter safety. In this case mine in the form of an illegal knee and approximately 25 illegal elbows to the back of my head which caused enough trauma that the doctor that checked me out at the ER 3 days after the bout in downtown Charleston (Charleston, SC for those that couldn’t figure that it from the Civil war reference) compared it to going through a major car wreck. After a meeting with the NC Boxing Authority which showed me that NC Boxing Authority officials weren’t exactly well versed in the arts of Bullshitting and the Manipulation of Logic I decided to write and post online a first person account of all the events that transpired leading up to, during, and after my bout with Johnny Buck. To this day it has been by far my most popular and controversial story which I guess means that truth still has some meaning in our present day world of Whiny politicians and Snooki helping to increase the demand of Valtrex Jersey-wide.
However there are some promoters that break the mold. These guys know better but decide to act out of greed and dishonesty anyway. The following talks about a fight I agreed to for such a promoter. What kind of guy would sink to this level? None other than a black bekt under Relson Gracie (If you read this Relson then all I can say is that the following is true to the best of my knowledge and I’m sorry that you have to find out like this). Here’s the story:
As I was preparing for my pro debut in Charleston and working on getting my gym (Exact Impact MMA) up and running I was in talks with Relson’s first black belt in Myrtle Beach, PawnStar, about a fight for June. The fight sounded like easy money being that PawnStar told me that the guy was 5’4” and was fighting at 170lbs. That’s not a typo. Either this guy was built like a mini brick shit house or a near midget with a thyroid issue. The money seemed decent, $500 to show (more on that in minute) and $500 to win, especially given the fact that it was against someone that I had an almost 8 inch reach advantage on. In other words it would be a paid vacation to Myrtle Beach that I would have to starve myself for and curse every Hardee’s billboards along the way. At least HotTeacher wouldn’t be short on options to keep herself pre occupied while I was consumed with being more nervous than Newt Gingrich hooked up to a polygraph on fight day.
As the fight was getting closer my training intensity amped up despite, on paper, this fight being sold to me as an easy fight but then again there are no easy fights. I started the weight cut about 3 weeks out in order to give myself plenty of leeway for error given the fact that this would only be my third cut to 170lbs and I had only been 1 out of 2 so far. As I spent that time starving myself I was also pre occupied with attempting to sell $500 worth of tickets for the fight which as PawnStar explained to me would be my “show pay”. At the time that I agreed to this I was busy with getting Exact Impact up and running not to mention prior to suffering the head injury in the Buck fight I was one of those “more balls than brains” types (If you haven’t figured that out from reading any of my other articles. “The Doggy Throw Up” story would be a good example).
When PapaFrank caught wind of this deal which included a $500 win bonus which in other words meant that in order to get paid completely in full I would have to sell all $500 worth of tickets and win the fight. This potentially meant that I could be cutting 20lbs and risking my health for zilch even though this was technically a pro fight. PapaFrank being more experienced in business dealings than I was smelled the shit storm on the horizon which invariably led to some bickering that would make George Carlin (RIP) and Denis Leary leave the room. Eventually cooler heads prevailed, I.e. his 3 dimensional offense of reason, logic, and stubbornness overcame my 2 dimensional defense of stubbornness and ignorance. We then put our heads together and realized that no matter how stupid I had been PawnStar, and the rest of Carolina Fight Promotions, had made a huge error in the fact that they had not secured a signed bout agreement before making the deal for selling fight tickets. Now I’m not fond of going back on a verbal agreement but at the same time if it smells like shit and looks like shit then it is shit. Especially when it is involves something as important as my health.
PapaFrank went to the South Carolina Athletic Commision and actually applied for a manager’s license which surprised the hell out of one of the commissioners whom took it upon himself to call PapaFrank in order to inquire as to why he would do such a thing. I guess, in Carolina MMA scene atleast, being smart enough to actually get licensed as a manager is considered breaking new ground. PapaFrank went on to tell the commissioner about PawnStar and CFP’s (Carolina Fight Promotions) attempt at low balling me. Apparently we weren’t the first people they attempted this with as PapaFrank told me that the SC Athletic Commision had an eye on them for awhile with their fight contracts since in essence they were illegal. The only fighters that had been benefitting from these deals were fighters from Myrtle Beach that trained at PawnStar’s gym, Fitness Edge MMA, since they were selling tickets for fights in their hometown in which they all had an established fan base and following.
However for a fighter that lives in a town 90 minutes south that is more into liberal arts and beer pong than it is on the intricacies of the Thai Plum or Triangle Choke while asking and constantly ask me when Chuck Liddell’s next fight will be, selling them on spending $50 for a ticket on top of driving for 90 minutes can be a rather difficult endeavour. With all these in mind PapaFrank decided that a new deal needed to be negotiated before anything was signed. His job was to protect me from myself which is one that he has had a lot of practice with throughout the years. All I can say that I’m still alive and haven’t resorted to selling drugs so I’ll give him an A+.
Did I also mention that there was a stipulation in the contract that they offered which stated I couldn’t fight for any other organizations and that there was no contractual obligation date on it? In other words I would basically be their slave, having to fight and promote for them whenever they requested, and if I failed to meet any of their demands they could with my hold fight purses as well as come after me in civil court. Now for anyone that hasn’t read any of my writing before then I will go ahead and just say I’m not one of those “get whipped and told that his name is Toby” types. This contract as a whole epitomizes what’s wrong with MMA in the Carolina’s, i.e. promoter’s attempt to take advantage of most fighter’s lack of business and legal knowledge in order to wrangle them into deals that in effect make them puppets for these promoters. Most of the time these promoters don’t even know how to throw a proper punch. In this case he just happened to be the only Relson Gracie Black Belt in the state of South Carolina. Well he was about to have PapaFrank go all Malcolm X on him.
Now what happens when you take a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (along with a Black Belts in the arts of Manipulation and Brown Nosing) that works for a chain of pawn shops and pit him in a battle of wits against mechanic/tow truck driver with life time of street and legal savvy? The litigation equivalent of a Mexican Stand-Off. PawnStar’s side refused to step off of the deal they tried to finagle me into without a licensed manager present minus acquiring a bout agreement and PapaFrank’s side of “we aren’t agreeing to anything until all of our legally required conditions are met”. They threatened to replace on the card with another fighter but PapaFrank wouldn’t cave. What was my side you ask? The one of “lets get this shit figured out so that I know whether or not I can eat a cheeseburger now”. I was having the male equivalent of PMS more commonly referred to as calorie deprivation/cutting weight (Now let’s take a second think about the ramifications of female fighters having to cut weight while actually going through PMS. YIKES!!! Now think about Christiane Santos cutting the amount of weight she must to get to 145lbs. Now if you aren’t too busy hyperventilating then keep reading.).
The negotiations had reached a breaking point and PapaFrank had PawnStar’s whole game figured out. I was about to head out to the this bar in North Charleston that sister branch of CoyoteUgly bar where HotTeacher was waiting up with the VanillaGorilla, RedNeckPromoter, and some of the other guys I trained with at Exact Impact. Everybody was oblivious to what was going on except for RedneckPromoter whom was basically begging us to bend over, grab our ankles, and take the deal. The ensuing 30 minute drive to North Charleston would decide whether I was going to eat shitty bar food and chug over-priced bottles of Coors Light or suffer through club soda, making believe that the carbonation qualifies it as beer somehow, while everyone else could enjoy the scene of bartenders that had more silicon in their chest than clothes on (not that I’m complaining in the least). Boze was obviously depressed about what was going on as I texted him on the way to the bar. I figured the fight was off and saturated fat infused nourishment was mere moments away.
Then I got a call from PapaFrank…..
Apparently the fight was still on and PawnStar along with CFP caved into all of our demands……
This meant I still had to cut weight for another week……
I somehow resisted the urge to punch the steering wheel……
\I called Boze and informed that the fight was still on…
Boze: “Damn you scared me boy!”
I arrived at the bar and suffered through my club soda like a good boy while I entertained HotTeacher and her friend whom I had been playing Hitch for VanillaGorilla with. RedneckPromoter was there and I informed him of what happened to which he had a combo surprised/relieved look on his face. Relieved given the fact that the fight was still on so his shorts would be getting advertised and surprised because he didn’t think we would have the audacity to stand up for something as far fetched in the Carolina MMA scene as fair, on top of legal, treatment.
I wish I could say that was the end of the drama but it was merely just the beginning. Fight week was more chock full of drama than going on Maury Povich to decide which man from the trailer park gangbang was the father. However, it was between me and HotTeacher instead of shady promoters. You see for as much of an asshole that I can be when I am fully nourished it only increases exponentially as I am essentially starving myself over the course of weeks in order to weigh in below my natural weight. This doesn’t bode well for relationships especially when the girl you are dating isn’t familiar with the rigors of being a Mixed Martial Artist on a day to day basis. In other words we were at each other’s throats and things had reached a boiling point. We got into an argument about me coming over by her place to hang out and check my weight on her digital scale which was pretty accurate. She felt that I only wanted to use her to check my weight.
She did have a lot of uses (playing devil’s advocate here). The sex was great, she provided lots of comfort when she wasn’t in one of her moods, she definitely helped to show me a lot of the intricacies of the materialistic world view, and she actually genuinely cared about me in her own way. Not saying we were meant to be together or that monogamy would work out in the long run but we did have a very intense connection. None of this matter during fight week though as all that mattered to me was the fight. It’s all I could think about. We promptly had one of our MTV-style break ups and I went to check my weight at Eco which had an accurate scale as well. I probably should have just gone there and avoided all the drama in the first place. Like I said prior, I had more balls than brains back then. My weight was on target and I didn’t talk to HotTeacher for the rest of fight week. I honestly thought our relationship was over. This had been a constant pattern in our relationship as this drama seemed to happen before every fight. I had a fight to worry about and didn’t have time to mull over this latest episode of our drama.
The day of weigh ins arrived which meant picking up Boze from his place up in Summerville to ride up to Myrtle Beach despite the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything in 20 hours. I heard drunk driving was dangerous but have never heard of talk of starving and driving. Who knows? Maybe it was time for me to be a trend setter. Besides, it wasn’t like Boze was going to drive even though I’m pretty sure he had nourishment that wasn’t restricted to chewing tobacco in the past day. I had him around for his muay thai knowledge, not his manners.
We arrived in Myrtle Beach around 2pm and the weigh-ins were around 5 which gave me plenty of time to cut the last 5 pounds of water necessary to make weight. We used the same sauna that most of the fighters use when cutting weight in Myrtle Beach called Kingston Plantation. Just think of a full fledged gym with a country club ambiance and you’ll get the Ben-Gay scented hint. The five pounds I had to sweat out came off pretty easily and I was at 170 in a little over an hour which was great since Boze was rushing me to the parking lot like he thought cutting weight was easier than level 1 of Super Mario Brothers with the invincible star power up. Thanks by the why.
As I was sitting in the passenger seat feeling drier than Stephen Hawking’s out look on life (not saying he’s a brilliant mathematician by any means) the Mercedez Benz that I was driving at the time decided to stall out. I attempted to explain to Boze how to get the Benz restarted by turning off and restarting the ignition but it sounded more like caveman grunts than actual coherent English. We arrived at the hotelm checked in, and tried to killed time till before we had to go weigh in. Once it was time to walk over to the Convention Center (since it was connected to the Sheraton Hotel that PawnStar and CFP put us up at) I started to get nervous.
Besides the fact that I could only find barebones information on the guy that I was fighting I had never actually seen what he looked like. I couldn’t find any pics, much less a Facebook account or something. It’s funny you look up a girl online it’s considered stalking but you try to look up a fighter online its considered research and women say that double standards hold them back (yeah, like how a trust fund holds back a sorostitute). Most of the guys that trained up at Fitness Edge said that I had nothing to worry but I wasn’t exactly taking that info like a stone eyed Denzel Washington playing Malcolm X. This guy could have been a smurf and I would have had it built up in my mind that he had the strength of a super-massive black hole.
That was until I saw him walk in………………….
PawnStar didn’t exaggerate one bit. This guy was tiny. I mean I know that the biggest mistake you can make when fighting somebody is to underestimate them based on their appearance but seriously, he looked like he would barely meet the height requirements for most theme park rides, with shoes on. I still was treating it like I was fighting Muhammad-Ala-Bruce Lee though (thanks Guy Ritchie). Even if it looked I was fighting an employee of Willy Wonka. This wasn’t the only fight that seemed like a mismatch however.
Carolina Fight Promotions is a joint venture between PawnStar who had most of his fighters from Fitness Edge MMA competing on his card and a black belt from Evolution MMA up in Wilmington, NC, which is a branch of the Nova Unao jiu jitsu/fight teams, whom also had his guys fighting on the card. Nova Unao has had plenty of world class fighters under their banner including Jose Aldo. The guy who runs Evolution MMA is a black belt under Renato “Charuto” Verissimo whom is the same guy who gave BJ Penn his black belt. Evolution MMA has actually been turning out some very good fighters including Derek Brunson whom is currently fighting under the Strikeforce banner and has an unbeaten record (as of this writing). One of their fighters was fighting on this card at a catch weight of 200lbs (he usually fights at 185lbs). From the looks of him he was cutting 15lbs of water to get to 185lbs as well looking like more shredded than Heath Ledger’s mind before he overdosed. His opponent didn’t exactly have veins popping on his biceps yet he was sipping Pedialyte after weighing in like he had spent all day in a sauna. Seriously he looked like a skin-head from an episode of Cops that just got dragged out of a meth lab while sporting a beer belly from drinking too many Natty Lights. Sadly (but fortunately for the entertainment value of this story), this was only the beginning of this chapter in the mythos of the man that will be known as PsychoFreak.
After I weighed in I started devouring the spaghetti I had brought faster than Don King can ruin a Heavyweight Boxing Champs career invariably making him resort to doing movies with Zach Galifnakis and Bradley Cooper. Boze looked at me like I had just told him that I was molested by certain a member of the coaching staff of a Division-1 school (Looking your way Skip Reville, Citadel coach. What? You were expecting a Jerry Sandusky joke?). After going all Hannibal Lecter on my post weigh-in nourishment all of the fighters had to head down to the lobby in order to hop in the limos down stairs to head to the mock weigh ins. As we were waiting for the limo driver to finish rubbing one out at the sight of the scantily clad ring girls or whatever the hell he was doing. I tried spitting some game to one of them (since I was still technically on break from HotTeacher, more on that later) but it was quickly apparent that she had the cognitive ability of pluff mud.
Since PawnStar put me in the away team corner, even though me and PawnStar were both from different branches of the same goddamn same jiu jitsu team, I had to hop into the limo with all of the fighters that weren’t familiar with the “Redneck Rodeo Drive” (Myrtle Beach for those that don’t whistle Dixie). Unfortunately for me PawnStar hopped into the limo and commenced Operation: Annoy-A-Ginger. Ever wondered what happens when you take that nerd from high school that would always get roughed up by the jocks, add 30 years, and give him a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu along with a solid salary from a lucrative chain of pawn shops? An annoying bald dude with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu going through a mid life crisis that never shuts the fuck up. I could seriously understand now how Postal Workers can go from being cool and calm one day to climbing up a clock tower to go all Call of Duty on some hapless locals like he has a Marksman Pro Perk.
We FINALLY arrived at Broadway Louie’s which is kind of like the Epcot Center of Myrtle Beach(or from what I remember about Epcot from my High School trip there during freshmen year) except they aren’t as subtle about the alcohol/food and beverage theme. I think if the ride had been a minute longer I would have tried to off myself by trying inflicting a subdural hematoma in my brain via bashing my head on PawnStar’s head. He seriously sucks at life that bad which is why he can be so proficient in the pawn business. Never mind being a good crook. You can be a good crook and still be one of those Robin Hood-heart of gold types. PawnStar not only was a good crook but has the moral compass of a certain former Republican House speaker (sorry for all the redundant Newt Gingrich jokes). Oh yeah did I mention that he’s a Clemson fan?
As we walked into the sports bar where the mock weigh ins were being held I started to become thirstier than Sasha Grey before she started appearing on Entourage (not saying that’s a bad thing. Yeah Sasha, you go girl!). I ordered a huge cranberry juice which has become a habit ever since I watched Leonardo Dicaprio order one and break it over some Mic Mobster’s head in The Departed. Yeah me and Leo see eye to eye on drink choices, it’s creepy I know. As I was chugging the good ole’ UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) Elixir I went to find my seat and actually ended up sitting with all of the Fitness Edge guys at their table since technically we were all on the same team (DID YOU GET THAT PAWNSTAR!?!?) Fighter introductions were pretty much the norm with the highlight being Convict getting into a guido-style flex-off with his Brazilian opponent from Evolution MMA like it was an Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary.
When me and T3, my opponent, got called on stage it couldn’t have been more comical. There wasn’t any trash talking or anything like that, he is actually a really nice guy, but just picture this:
1. A 6’0” (5’11 ¾” if you ask HotTeacher) Ginger in boxers in a crowded sports bar
2. A 5’4” tan, bald guy in boxers that looks like he is 5” short (or is that above?) of qualifying for the head position of the Teamster’s branch of the Lollipop Guild
3. One of CFP’s other investors that looked like he jerked off to one too many episodes of Orange County Choppers
4. PawnStar just well being Pawnstar
5. Concert style lighting
It looked like a human matchstick nearly looking down at the floor in order to make eye contact for a mock-staredown with the only Hobbit in the Shire that had access to a tanning bed. Throw in a a couple hundred Bible Belt bred locals that act like they live in Beverly Hills wearing Tapout shirts on top of other MMA themed whatnot and you’ll get a good idea.
Before I did my staredown PsychoFreak took the stage. As comical as my staredown was PsychoFreak’s took the proverbial cake. It’s not just that he was wearing a ninja outfit. It’s not just that he had a Rampage Jackson-style chain on. It’s not even the fact that he was wearing red contact lenses which was obviously a play off of Dan Hardy. It’s that he was wearing all three while staring down his opponent, EvolutionWrestler, like he was going to take his lunch money and name him Sally. EvolutionWrestler just looked confused. All I could see was the eventual car wreck on the horizon in the form of PsychoFreak’s face being turned into hamburger meat.
The funny thing is that most corner men would be right by the front stage but Boze was back by the bar doing his whole cool-calm-drink-a-coors-light-act-like-Mr. Miyagi-poker-face- thing. He comented on the comedic value of the staredown and we went toApplebee’s which had become a post fight ritual. He was telling me that since he (T3) had a wrestling base that his lead leg would be open for leg kicks all day which was good to go along with my current Three Stooges inspired game plan of using my reach advantage in order to reach my arm out in a “talk to the hand fashion” to hold back his advances while constantly repeating, “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.” Lyoto Machida ain’t got shit on me (comedy-wise, not kicking my ass with a crane kick-wise).
After scarfing down some grilled cow flesh at your friendly neighborhood bar and grill we went back to the Sheraton/Myrtle Beach Convention center so that I could unwind a little bit. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful except for PawnStar constantly nagging me about going to bed everytime he saw me walking around the hotel. Besides the whole faux-pa “I want you to really think I care about you so that you might actually cave in and kiss my ass routine” I just found it really annoying because he was trying to act like he was an expert on fighting with a doctorate in pre fight preparation (not saying that I am). I mean if he were Greg Jackson or Cesar Gracie I’d actually listen. When it’s coming from someone who has as much muscle mass as an Ethiopian and, more than likely, was awarded his black belt more for political reasons than for actual talent then his advice holds less water than a sidewalk in Phoenix. I just smiled and nodded while repeating, “Ok [PawnStar]”.
Later that night I went to the bar on the second floor of the hotel lobby to order and scar down a dank ass pulled pork barbeque sandwich and sweet potato fries. While there I started shooting the shit with a couple people that were going to see the fights and actually had a decent intellectual conversation with them. There were actually down to earth people in the Redneck Rodeo Drive that I wasn’t already friends with. Who knew?
Afterward I headed down to the lobby to check my Facebook. As I was posting a status update about being relieved to actually have some real calories again I noticed PsychoFreak take a seat at one of the other computers directly next to mine. He could have chosen about about 10 other ones but he chose the one next to me. I know computers aren’t exactly urinals but still. Then he opened his mouth and the ensuing conversation about how he knew 16 different styles of jiu jitsu started killing more or my brain cells than any amount of Wild Turkey ever could. I started to realize in how bad of away PsychoFreak was. I was seriously worried this kid was mere hours away from walking the green mile. That’s when it dawned on me how shitty CFP was at matchmaking. It’s one thing to set up fights to pad a fighters record but this was ridiculous. This guy had no business being in a cage fight never mind against someone who had the ability to rape him in a prison shower with one hand tied behind his back.
The following morning we went to this IHOP style diner, they’re freaking everywhere in the Dirty Myrtle along with the 3 star hotels that constitute the city’s skyline. I will admit the food was pretty good but when I went to pay I tried using the Discover Card that PapaFrank let me borrow for emergencies which, unlike a freshman undergrad settling into his new dormroom, I actually used for emergencies like say paying for a breakfast at some diner in Myrtle Beach but lo and behold the restaurant, conveniently, didn’t accept Discover cards. Boze had to pay which if you know him was about as fun for him as getting root canal with a chainsaw.
We went back to the hotel and hung out until PapaFrank and MamaSenior (as Quiche would call my mom) arrived. Once they got there they we rode out to get more food, another pre fight ritual. Upon arriving back I walked into the lobby to a huge surprise in the form of HotTeacher, along with Junior and HorseBack (Junior’s girlfriend), chilling on the couch. I guess we weren’t on break anymore. We didn’t even really talk about anything from the week prior since I already had plenty on my mind and honestly I was happy that she was there. PapaFrank spent a shitload of money, in middle class terms, on more rooms at the Sheraton including a room solely for me and HotTeacher. It was pretty nice.
Eventually fighter meetings rolled around so I headed down with Boze to check out the cage and fill out the necessary paper work. I shot the breeze with a couple of the guys that used to train under Relson but switched to training under Rigan Machado since getting a black belt under Relson Gracie takes a really long time (which makes it even more baffling as to how PawnStar got it even if it was for political reasons). I’m talking there have been guys under him for 16 years and still sitting on a 4 stripe brown belt. Some guys just get fed up with waiting and switch to different jiu jitsu schools to get their black belts like it’s a foreign currency exchange at Kinkos. It’s just hard to get belted under him in general. There is a good saying that a purple belt under Relson is like a black belt under anyone else.
One of the guys who I was chatting with, RiganBlackbelt, was fighting on the card. He was a purple belt under Relson and was now a black belt under Rigan. This was going to be his first MMA bout but he seemed like he was in good spirits. PotBelly said he was in the best shape of his life and from the looks of him at weigh ins he was right. His jiu jitsu was pretty solid, definitely purple belt level in Relson terms. I had no idea how adequate his striking was though which is something a lot of martial artists train along with jiu jitsu/submission grappling. The problem with a lot of black belts in Brazilian jiu jitsu is that they think all you need to win an MMA fight is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu especially in the 843 (all areas of South Carolina east of I-95 for those that aren’t well versed in Ebonics).
I walked into the cage to check out the footing since the last thing you want to happen when someone is trying to make Donkey Kong out of your brain matter is to slip and fall. As I walked around the cage area T3 walked in as well to which was a little awkward since this was the first time we actually formerly met without an audience or officials around. We made small talk and like I said before he was one those chill-I-could-have-a-beer-with types. This is the part about MMA I hated more than the business politics of it. Having to fight and hurt people that I actually liked. It’s unfortunate.
A few hours later we went backstage so I could get stretched out and make final preparations for the bout. Usually being backstage is pretty uneventful, but this time would definitely be an exception thanks to PsychoFreak. Oh where to start? First off he spent what seemed like an eternity bitching about how CFP would not allow him walk out to a Lil’ Wayne song which already had him well into white trash territory. This went on for a solid two hours while me, Boze, and Cro Cop gave each other looks like we had been set up on a blind group date and all the girls had a face for radio with a muffin top to match.
I was seriously starting to get pissed off at this point but not at PsychoFreak (he was more of the low-I.Q.creepy variety). I was pissed at CFP and PawnStar for even allowing this fight to go through in the first place. I mean PawnStar had to have talked to this guy at some point and realized that he had no idea what he was doing. The absolute absurdity of the match up was of the proportions that ruined the Pride organization. Well, that and the whole Yakuza scandal thing. It was the very epitome of a freak show match up with a guy named PsychoFreak that seemed to be less athletic than Christopher Reeves (RIP) after he fell off the horse.
Fortunately for this story (and unfortunately for whatever brain cells PsychoFreak had left) some dude that looked like an extra from American History X bitching about not having Lil’ Wayne as his walkout song wasn’t the end of it. Whatever dignity this dude had wasn’t exactly in Kansas anymore or so I thought. That’s when he asked for everyone in the locker room to quiet down so that he could pray to Baby Jesus. Not just Jesus, Baby Jesus. RICKY BOBBY BABY FUCKING JESUS. We were all quiet out of the sheer absurdity and awkwardness of the situation. This guy had spent the better part of the past two days royally pissing off an opponent that was way more skilled, way smarter (obviously), and looked like someone you’d find on the mounds of Olympus. Did I mention he was royally pissed of from all of PsychoFreak’s mad-dogging? This was about to be an experiement in what happens when a bad idea meats a volatile situation in the form of 200lbs of muscle with 5% body fat and an extensive amateur wrestling background.
So how did the fight go you ask? While I didn’t actually go out by the cage to watch it I was able to figure it out from the sounds of the audience whilst backstage. First I heard their individual entrance song’s blaring. Then I heard the ring announcer make the fighter introductions. Then I heard the ref do his best Herb Dean impersonation by asking the fighters if they were ready. Then I heard him say, “Go.” Then I heard the unmistakable thud of someone getting taken down and slammed on the cage floor. And then I heard this:
The entire audience in attendance at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Symphony: “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
That sound is the unmistakable hint that someone just had their face properly fuck-started and I had pretty good idea whom it was. Eventually PsychoFreak walked backstage with the unmistakable look of someone that attempted to re-enact the Harlem scene from Die Hard; With a Vengeance and like John McClane just narrowly escaped without the help of Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson, not the Greek God). The only difference was that PsychoFreak’s face was WAY more fucked up. He had two major lacerations under his eyes which, while I’m no physician, needed stitches (or superglue) immediately. PsychoFreak wasn’t convinced of how badly he needed medical assistance even with the visibly pissed off SC Athletic Commision official hovering around us.
Frank: “You need to go to the hospital and get some stitches.”
PsychoFreak: “I’m fine. I’ll be ok.”
Frank: “No dude, you like really need to go to the hospital right now and get that looked at.”
After some more insistence from me, Cro Cop, and Boze we finally got PsychoFreak to concede to reason. He left with the SC commission official shaking his head over I’m guessing this match actually having happened and how close this fight could have turned into a one-way trip to the netherworld for PsychoFreak. I was equally appalled. Here was a sport I loved being made a mockery of by a promoter that should know better about matchmaking and fighter safety. Instead he could care less. I seriously wanted to punch him in the face. With all the drama over the contract and now this I could honestly believe that he could be the type of douchebag that would kiss Relson’s ass with his tongue out to get his black belt because he was showing that he was the type of douchebag that would match very dangerous fights against fighters that were completely overmatched solely for entertainment value. He had the spinal density of a jelly fish.
My fight was coming up shortly so I started to warm up by alternating rounds of jumping rope with rounds of mitts with Boze. While doing this HotTeacher decided to come over and wish me luck which was a little awkward but at least she was making more of an effort to show some interest in what I was doing. Boze didn’t like it but I thought it was sweet. It’s not like she grasped the concept of how jumble-fucked a ginger’s mind can be mere minutes from having to hop in a cage with some guy trying to knock his head off. Somehow though she could understand the intricacies of how Dulce and Gabana actually matter in MTV world. She had that “worried you are going to get knocked out look” on her face.
Then RedneckPromoter decided to come by and wish me luck in his own drunken, fucked up sort of way after I pointed out T3 in the bleechers when he asked about who I was fighting:
RedneckPromoter: “HE’S GOING TO FUCK YOU UP!!!!!!”
It’s a good thing I didn’t have a gun because RedneckPromoter would have had a bigger hole in his head than John F. Kennedy minus the need of some bullshit conclusion by the Warren Commision about some magic bullet. Lo and behold this is was only the beginning of douche bag promoters trying to piss me off before fight time. I finished warming up and had a good sweat going as we figured the fight was only a few minutes away.
1 hour later…………….
Now I’m seriously fucking pissed. I have been standing behind the fighter’s entrance, like right behind the goddamned curtain, for 40 minutes. Why do you ask? Because the douchebags at CFP including Pawnstar, especially PawnStar, have been delaying my bout all this time in order to drive up alcohol sales since the CFP is so shitty at matchmaking that almost all of the bouts have been stopped in the first round. Maybe if they had done more research into the fighters then the bouts would be more evenly matched and last longer? So in order to do this they are now “thanking their sponsors” at a rate that would make a tortoise look like it was on crank.
So there I was trying to keep a sweat going and not (completely) lose my shit while a bunch of douchebags going through a mid life crisis try and drive up the sales of shitty domestic bear and wal-mart quality wine so that they could buy their stupid bimbo wives/girlfriends more stupid shit that they don’t need and/or put out for. What could make this worse? Oh the wanna be paparazzi jerk offs that wanted to take pics of me back stage while all this was going on. Not only that but they wanted me to pose for them, my “get the fuck away from me” stare kind of gave them a hint that maybe trying to make a resume for TMZ off a ginger wasn’t a bright idea. Either way they finally announced my name and Everlast’s “We’re All Gonna Die” started blaring on the loud speaker as I walked out with a game face that would make Ray Lewis show respect.
Right before I walked into the cage I accidentally knocked a camera out of this smoking hot chick’s hand as I aggressively pulled my sweat shirt off due to how pissed I still was from waiting backstage. I think it scared her and if I weren’t in such a “fuck-the-world-tastic-mood” I probably would have apologized if I actually cared at that point. Apparently said smoking hot chick was a former Penthouse Model which means I probably earned an induction into the Cock-blocking Hall of Fame. Fuck it, I had someone that I had to beat up.
T3 came out to some country song which I didn’t really hear before but James attempt to use it as motivation to want to hurt him. I just thought of thick chicks in cowboy hats for some reason. It might something to do with this one time when HotTeacher rode me while wearing cowboy boots. Who knows? Anyways to the fight shall we?
As me and T3 looked at each other I could only imagine how ridiculous we must have looked. I’m sure Joe Rogan would have been having as much fun commentating as Rob Zombie at a zombie themed blood orgy. Once the fight started T3’s game plan became easily apparent in the form of the double leg takedown and solely the double leg takedown. He wasn’t even subtle about it attacking my legs like a moth to a light bulb. Every time he’d shoot in I’d shuck the takedown and when Boze yelled, “NOW!” I’d unload a couple leg kicks and a really nice head kick if T3 hadn’t blocked it. After stuffing one more of his takedowns he went for another and I reversed it into a really sick hip toss. Steven Seagal would have been proud, not like it matters unless you are Anderson Silva but still it was pretty. I landed on top in the side mount, quickly transitioned to the full mount, and started opening up with punches. T3 saw where this was going and frantically attempted to roll me over but it just lead to me taking his back.
Now this is where shit gets scary and by scary I mean “Oh Fuck! I think I killed somebody” scary. Once I got my hooks in and secured back control I heard Boze yell, “12”. That was code for throwing elbows which I figured how to throw to the side of T3’s head with alarming power. Alarming due to the fact that only 2 had him tapping, which I didn’t notice until it was too late to pull back on the third elbow which had him go completely limp. The ref didn’t even stop it at that point until I looked at him with a befuddled “he’s unconscious” look. He wasn’t moving, AT ALL, which was pretty scary since I didn’t want T3 to die or something. I started waving towards the ring side doctor to get in the cage as I was seriously worried. Contrary to popular belief not all fighters take pleasure in hurting people. We aren’t animals that mindlessly afflict harm on others and then eat their flesh, well maybe Clay Guida is.
After a few tense moments T3 came to and everything was fine besides T3’s corner claiming I struck him to the back of the head which I could understand since the view they had from their corner had my body was obscuring their view. Boze had some words with them but the ref was actually on top of it and saw that they were all to the side of the head. After the post fight interview where I literally had to explain to the crowd what happened since they were booing, like I said “Redneck Rodeo Drive”, I went backstage to get changed and get paid. What happened next was what I like to call “full-on Ginger Critical Mass” and it’s just as scary as it sounds. If things ever get to “full-on Ginger Meltdown” then rest assured that charges will be getting filed and physical trauma will be endured/doled out.
What would lead to such a catastrophe? None other than more bullshit from CFP of course. You see they had this policy of fighters having to hand over their driver’s license in order to get their gloves to fight with which was pretty stupid for two reasons:
1. CFP couldn’t legally re-use the gloves so keeping their drivers licenses as collateral was pretty pointless if they cared about legal matters or god forbid hygiene.
2. Even if they could it was pretty pointless to use this policy on pro-fighters since I kind of had to get one of those pay check things from them since me and T3’s bout was a pro one. I’m a narcissist, I don’t forget to pick up a paycheck and get that chedda’. I’m just saying if they wanted to leverage me from stealing some shitty four ounce gloves then maybe threatening to with hold pay would have been a better fulcrum?
So naturally after I got paid my next order of business was to go have a night of drunken debauchery with my friends and family ending with some hot, crazy drunken, porno-style sex with HotTeacher. However I had to get my driver’s license first so I went to the guy that took my license and gave me my gloves which would obviously mean he would have my license right? I mean there were about 20 people fighting on the card which meant 20 pieces of plastic which could be kept in one’s pocket. How hard could that be? Well apparently for this clueless douchebag it was about as difficult as trying to decide who to vote for on American Idol judging from the amount of effort it looks like he puts into his hair. It wasn’t just the fact he was clueless about the whereabouts of my driver’s license but the fact that he treated the issue like it was a wet fart. The combination of the adrenaline dump from the fight, the amount of bullshit I had to deal with CFP before and now during this had to me at a tipping point or as I have refer to as “Ginger Critical Mass”. As previously stated this is one step below the much feared “Ginger Meltdown” on the Ginger Rage scale which I will cover in further articles. Just rest assured that if you are near a Ginger in this state then it is highly recommended to evacuate, especially if any whiskey or tequila is involved. This poor sap had no idea what he was dealing with when he came up to me a second time trying to feed me the same bullshit:
Frank: (with possibly glowing red eyes and steam coming out of my ears) “You need to go find my license right now before I go and find [PawnStar]. If I have to it’s not going to be pretty.”
Boze: (Looking at me combo scared/seriously pissed off at me look in his eyes) “Frank, chill out!”
I looked at the frightened looks on everyone’s face and went outside before a full meltdown could commence on RedneckPromoter who was trying to feed me some bullshit about, “this is how the business works” or something like that. Maybe it does but that didn’t change the fact that I was appalled and pissed off about what transpired at this whole event. Eventually I got my license back, I apologized to the guy, and everything was all hunky dorey again. I got the rest of my stuff from backstage and T3 walked back there to congratulate me which is when I noticed this HUGE knot on his head. Seriously, it looked like one of the babies from Alien was about to bust out of his skull. Other than that he was fine. I asked him if he had any plans for later on.
T3: “Going to down to 155”
Obviously he misunderstood about me asking he wanted to go get a beer but I can’t blame him. He kind of did just suffer a concussion and being unconscious.
The rest of the night involved sushi and drinks with PapaFrank, MamaSenior, Junior, HorseBack, and HotTeacher. I wasn’t exactly feeling like going out after that as everything that had happened in the past few days had finally caught up with me making me drowsier than atching Carlos Mencia’s stand up. I passed out with HotTeacher, woke up, got my post fight celebratory sex in (the best right behind revenge sex and exasperated surrender sex) and we packed up. After having lunch in Murrell’s Inlet we headed back to Charleston.
Honestly this was the fight that signaled to me that MMA wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. I got into it because I felt it was the epitome of honest competition between men (and women) of comparable abilities and skill sets. At least that’s what it is in the UFC and Strikeforce. However this was the first fight to show me how wide the gap in ability in opponents can be at MMA events in the Carolinas especially with the fights talked about here. All these promoters care about is the bottom line and like with anything else that bottom line is the dinero. BLING!! BLING!!!