Rumble On The Rock 4 Weigh-ins
All Star Hawaii
Thursday, October 09, 2003
By Michael Onzuka
|Penn vs. Gomi
Anyone who knows the Penn family knows that when they do something, they never do it halfway. The star of the family, BJ starts Jiu-Jitsu and after only 4 years becomes the first non-Brazilian Black Belt World Jiu-Jitsu Champion. BJ then turns his efforts to MMA and debuts in the UFC, the most prestigious show in America. After only three fights, he gets a title shot. Now BJ’s manager and older brother JD takes the lead as the promoter for the Rumble on the Rock. Usually, a new promoter starts his show on a low budget and with successful events builds to bigger and better production. As I said above, the Penn family comes out of the gate with a custom built UFC style octagon, two 20′ screens, and a runway with a light setup that would make Dana White proud in their first show.
After three successful events in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Penns decided to move the show to Oahu, which is easily the most populated island in the chain. Oahu has approximately 800,000 people of the about 1.1 million people that live in Hawaii. The promoters put out an avalanche of press hitting all the major radio stations, local TV, ESPN, Discovery, The Learning Channel, and other stations with commercials for this event. Their hope is to get not only the huge following that BJ has on the Big Island to come over to Oahu to watch him fight, but an already large fan base to turn out for some MMA action.
Step one, get a great main event. How about the number one versus the number two fighters at 155 pounds squaring off? Half of that is easy enough since JD just had to walk down the hall and ask his brother BJ if he is game. BJ wants to be the best ever and the only way he can be the best is if he fights the best. Enter Takanori Gomi. Gomi was the most devastating fighter from Japan beating all comers until he was recently stopped by Joachim Hansen. Gomi is still considered number two in most MMA polls. After some negotiation, Gomi agrees. The Japanese fighters are always known for wanting to fight the best as well and for putting on great performances, especially in Hawaii. Interestingly enough, this is Gomi’s second fight in Hawaii. His first was in Super Brawl 12 where he submitted Stephen "Bozo" Palling who also happens to be on this card. Both fighters agreed to a modification to the standard sanctioned rules of the UFC. The modifications are that liver kicks (similar to the type made famous by Royce Gracie) and north/south or straight up and down elbow strikes are legal. In normal rules, the fighters must throw an elbow with a hooking action in order for it to be legal. This rule change opens the possibility for a huge amount of damage. After all, look how much damage an elbow throwing expert like Tito Ortiz can do with the hooking elbows.
|Hallman vs. Cooper
Step two; create a solid under card filled with popular local fighters taking on the best of the mainland. Done. Ray "Bradda" Cooper, Stephen "Bozo" Palling, and Ron "The Machine Gun" Jhun are all on this card. They are not facing slouches by any means. Cooper faces off with the only man to defeat the world’s best 170 pound fighter twice, Dennis "Superman" Hallman. UFC veteran, Gil Castillo, faces off against Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and Rumble on the Rock honed fighter Renato "Charuto" Verissimo. Castillo, being a pupil of Cesar Gracie and a title contender in both the 170 and 185 pound class of the UFC is a huge step up in caliber for Verissimo. The rest of the card is filled with gems which should keep the Hawaii fans satisfactorily occupied until the main event rolls around. Celebrities that are here for the event include Pitfight team mastermind, John Hackleman, UFC veteran Josh Thompson, referee Larry Landless, and none other than the New York Badass, Phil Baroni, who will be doing the commentary with yours truly.
Can the Penns pull in the larger fan base of Oahu? If the amount of people that showed up at the weigh ins at All Star Hawaii is any indication, we are looking at a capacity crowd. This is the largest crowd that Hawaii events have had at a weigh in. All the fighters made weight, but some had to shed a pound or two which came off pretty quickly. The card is intact and Penn and Gomi are set to determine who the best is at 155.
Yobie Song (Jesus Is Lord) 134.0 lbs vs. Antonio Banuelos (Pitfight Team) 134.5 lbs
Lightweight Constructed 160 lb Class
Santino Defranco (808 Fight Factory) 156.5 lbs vs. Deshaun Johnson (HMC) 159.0 lbs
Ross "Da Boss" Ebanez (BJ Penn MMA) 170.0 lbs vs. Gabe Casillas (Debrazil Academy) 169.5 lbs
David "Kawika" Pa’aluhi (Jesus Is Lord) 204.5 lbs vs. Joe Riggs (BRAUSA) 200.5 lbs
Stephen "Bozo" Paling (Jesus Is Lord) 144.5 lbs vs. Gilbert Melendez (Cesar Gracie)145.0 lbs
Ron "The Machine Gun" Jhun (808 Fight Factory) 170.0 lbs vs. Sean Taylor 170.0 lbs
Renato "Charuto" Verissimo (BJ Penn MMA) 170.0 lbs vs. Gil Castillo (Cesar Gracie) 169.5 lbs
Andy Montana 250.0 lbs vs. Paul "The Executioner" Buenatello (American Kickboxing Academy) 243.0 lbs
Ray "Bradda" Cooper (Jesus Is Lord) 169.0 lbs vs. Dennis Hallman (Victory Athletics) 170.0 lbs
BJ Penn (BJ Penn MMA) 155.0 lbs vs. Takanori Gomi (K’z Factory) 154.0 lbs