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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

“mma Ring” Approved In Cali, Yet Sport Faces “golden” Pains

"MMA Ring" Approved in Cali, Yet Sport Faces "Golden" Pains
By Loretta Hunt

A unanimous 5-0 vote by the California State Athletic Commission last Thursday in downtown Los Angeles approved an amendment to allow the utilization of a "ring enclosed by ropes" in mixed martial arts events in the Golden State. (Since the sport’s legalization in California on December 28, MMA contests had only been allowed in a cage.)

The amendment to Section 523 of the California Code of Regulations, drafted by CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia and strongly lobbied by Dream Stage Entertainment, promoters of PRIDE, calls for an apparatus similar to that utilized by the popular Japanese promotion, with additional ropes and an extended lip to the traditional boxing ring. "Sub referees," as PRIDE stations around its ring to keep competitors from falling out, were not included in the language passed.

Pride's model ring
PRIDE submitted a model of their ring to the Commission.

Pending its approval by both the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Office of Administrative Law, California events could take place in the MMA-style ring as early as 45 or as late as 120 days.

The swift approval of the ring did not foreshadow the remaining MMA-related agenda for the day. Over the next six hours, the CSAC reviewed and, in some cases, investigated all five of the MMA events that have already taken place in its jurisdiction up till that day.

CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia

"Where do I begin? CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia began with his report to an attentive Commission. "We’ve had a few ups and quite a few downs."

"It doesn’t appear to me, that they’re [the promoters] used to working in the structure where you have minimum medial requirements, where they have to turn in information regarding the athletes that are participating on their cards," Garcia described of his experiences since March 10’s Strikeforce, which marked the state’s first sanctioned event.

Of Garcia’s concerns were last-minute proposed match-ups and the promoters’ failure to deliver requisite medical paperwork needed to license fighters in the State within its 72-hour cut-off period. Illustrating his dilemmas, Garcia referred to four events the CSAC had scheduled for the coming Saturday, April 29 (the XFC would cancel its event later that day, bringing the number down to three), and stated that he had half the medical documentation missing on each of the shows.

Garcia also expressed his obstacles in accessing professional debuting fighters, which he estimated have made up 40 to 50 percent of the cards he’s encountered. In the cases of proposed fighters carrying a 0-0 professional record, Garcia told the Commission he had assigned inspectors to visit the candidates at their gyms throughout the State for three to five minutes of grappling and two to three minutes of bag work to demonstrate they were ready to compete in an MMA fight.

However, with no money specifically allocated for this extra type of inspector work, Garcia said he had reached his budget’s constraints and that debut fighters might have to be reconsidered till the end of the Commission’s fiscal year on June 30. This date will also mark the end of the CSAC as a government agency. From July 1 on, boxing and MMA (along with other state-sanctioned combat arts disciplines) will be overseen by the Department of Consumer affairs.

In reviewing the five MMA promotions that held events in the State up till that date, Garcia was complimentary of March 11’s Total Combat, April 7’s Total Fighting Alliance, and April 15’s UFC. West Coast Fighters’ Promotions, which held an IFC event in Sacramento on April 1, and March 10’s Strikeforce did not fair as well, even though the latter has remained the highest attended MMA event in North America to this date with 18,265 spectators.

Look for a full report on the state of MMA in California in the next issue of Full Contact Fighter.

Bellingham Bash
Held April 29, 2006
At the Pacific Northwest Karate Center
Bellingham, WA
By Mike Neva

The inaugural Lockflow.com submission grappling tournament was an overwhelming success much to the delight of promoter, Charles Pearson. With 66 competitors ranging from the youth novice division to the men’s expert, it was a full day of grappling action. If a marathon of grappling wasn’t enough to wet the fans’ appetite, the promoters also capped off the day with the first ever Bellingham Bash, which included a mixed card of mma, kickboxing, muay thai, and the final rounds of the absolute grappling division.

The lone kickboxing bout proved to be the most exciting match of the evening as Yancy Bagby bravely gutted it out against the noticeably taller Nick Howlett. From the outset, Bagby was being peppered with punching combos and was dropped from the strikes multiple times during the contest. The resolve of the staulky Bagby had the crowd roaring their approval as time after time he showed the heart of a champion by wildly bombing back with punches of his own, but in the end it was not enough as Howlett won a unanimous decision after 3 rounds.

On the MMA side of the docket, the bouts were all fast, one-sided affairs, with two of the three matches not reaching the one minute mark. After a quick takedown and guard pass, Ryan Alverez had little trouble dispatching an overwhelmed Brandon Callihan with a rear-naked choke. And to close the evening’s action, first timer Muhammed Mustafa, a product of Abu Dahbi runner up, Otto Olson, used his wrestling background to ground and pound his way to a TKO victory at only 57 seconds of the opening round.

Ryan Alverez choking Brandon Callihan
Alverez choking Callihan.

MMA Results
Ken Mishima def. Devin Palmer by rear-naked choke at 2:13 of R1
Ryan Alverez def. Brandon Callihan by rear-naked choke at 0:51 of R1
Muhammed Mustafa def. Cesar Gonzales by TKO (ref stoppage – punches) at 0:57 of R1

Kickboxing Results
Nick Howlett def. Yancy Bagby by unanimous decision after R3

Muay Thai Results
Beau France def. Tripp Sheer by split decision after R3

Submission Grappling Results

Submission Grappling Semifinals
Brian Shaw def. Malembe Gonzales by a score of 2 – 0
Otto Olson def. Mario Miranda by advantage

Submission Grappling Finals
Otto Olson def. Brian Shaw by guillotine choke

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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