July 27, 2006
New episode of FCF Radio
In our latest broadcast,
WEC Hosts Saturday’s "The Hitman"
to Assist Bennett Family
By Derek Callahan
It’s important for a community as passionate for its sport as MMA to remember why it is so important to want to help the young family of Ryan Bennett. As much as Ryan was a professional on-camera, an engaging voice behind the mic, and an instant friend to anyone who interacted with him in even the briefest way, he was a family man first. That is why stepping up to make his family’s future an easier one is so good an idea.
The people behind World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) know that the most important part of Bennett’s life is now in need. Along with the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, WEC promoters Scott Adams and Reed Harris are a classy example of what friends are for. "The Hitman" is a show that will benefit the Bennetts – which includes recovering wife Tonya and her four children Ashley, Allison, Jada, and Braden – to the tune of an anticipated five figures; the key is to help pave the Bennett’s road to recovery. Throwing together a last minute, all-volunteer show set for July 28 at the Tachi Palace, Adams and Harris have put their faith in a sporting community that craves challenges. Knowing the challenge of putting together a show that needs to produce financially, yet cost next to nothing to produce, the WEC has a challenge of their own.
Their generosity must be reciprocated by the MMA community, and so far the WEC has been the recipient of key figures in staging a show. The free availability offered goes beyond the timekeepers, physicians, event employees, DVD production crew and the overwhelming accommodation of the Tachi Palace. Ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. and a host of fighters now as hungry to help as they normally are to win, have all guaranteed their efforts to ensure a success.
By producing a DVD of the event, the WEC is giving fans a chance to lend a hand. By holding an event in the first place, they are giving fighters who had the chance to work with Ryan the opportunity to help. The event isn’t easy to put together, and that was obvious from the get-go. (While tracking down participants, I was told at one point to call a different welterweight than the one I had listed, because he was going to be the one fighting. When asked about why he took the fight, he replied, "I didn’t know I was fighting.")
Putting together a last-minute show and convincing people to do it for free was obviously a tough task. But from the looks of the card, which will hold exhibition matches so as to protect fighter’s records and safety and keep the objectives of the show clear, many in the fight world stepped up admirably. Most of the card is comprised of less experienced West Coast fighters who know that helping the WEC will undoubtedly help them. The fact that it is lesser known, less experienced fighters that are stepping up to compete on short notice says enough about their guts before they even get into the ring.
Renowned 145-pounder Urijah Faber will be grappling in an exhibition bout, and Wes Sims continues his road warrior ways. Having had three recent. high profile fights against Mark Kerr, Bobby Hoffman and Jimmy Ambriz fail to see the light of day Sims is excited about getting to fight. Still, he knows what he is doing and why. Although it has subsequently been decided that he will compete against the 1-1 Joel Suprenant, Sims had no idea who he was fighting at the time we spoke. From the way he spoke, he didn’t seem to care.
"Whatever good you could find in a person [Ryan] would find," says Sims. "It’s a good time to help out Ryan’s family."
Underneath the surface of this elaborate gesture is the compelling return of Alex Stiebling. Unheard of since a KO loss to Vernon White last October, former PRIDE fighter Stiebling never quite got to the top tiers of MMA. This is a good way to see what sort of shape he’s in, and where his timing and ring rust is in a non-threatening match. He has a good opponent to do it against in Jason Guida, a journeyman opponent who has enjoyed recent success with a win (albeit an avenged one) over Marvin Eastman. The real story though, is the kindness that is starting the show in the first place.
As a sport, MMA breeds connections between athletes, fans, and casual practitioners of the artistry they see in the ring or cage. By supporting selfless endeavors like the one the WEC has created, fans will refuse to forget one of the sport’s own by remembering those he left behind. More than a nice nod to the memory of Ryan Bennett, the event is an opportunity to give. Fans can know the compassion it takes to help somebody in need: learn how it feels, and do it again through the memory of one who would have done the same.
WEC 22 "The Hitman" Line-Up
Grappling Exhibition: Urijah Faber vs. Cory Cass
FOR BUSHIDO SURVIVAL
TOKYO, Japan – Former IBA heavyweight boxing champion, ERIC "BUTTERBEAN" ESCH is set to make his PRIDE Fighting debut at BUSHIDO SURVIVAL. The 350-pounder sports a boxing record of 72 wins (54 KOs) with 7 losses and 4 draws. His opponent will be the "giant killer", IKUHISA "THE PUNK" MINOWA, who has defeated the likes of Giant Silva, Kimo Leopoldo and Phil Baroni.
The four tournament bouts will feature DAN HENDERSON vs. KAZUO MISAKI, RYO CHONAN vs. PAULO FILHO, GEGARD MOUSASI vs. AKIHIRO GONO, and DENIS KANG vs. AMAR SULOEV. Others scheduled to participate in non-tournament bouts include "The Fireball Kid" TAKANORI GOMI as well as Japanese fighter MITSUHIRO ISHIDA
PRIDE FIGHTING’S BUSHIDO SURVIVAL is the second round of an exclusive 16-man welterweight tournament, spanning three events. BUSHIDO SURVIVAL is scheduled to premiere in the United States on Fox Sports Net on Sunday, August 27th, 2006 at 7:00pm nationwide.
U.S. Premiere Schedule:
Premiere Date: Sunday, August 27th, 2006
Premiere Time: 7:00 pm nationwide
Fight Card Subject to Change.
From the event’s promoter:
Fights this weekend at AMC Vision Quest!
Another great night of fights that you don’t want to miss!!!!!!
Date: Saturday July 29, 2006
General Admission $20, VIP $30, Ringside $40-$50
See You There!