I spent Saturday night watching grown men and women beat the blood out of each other.
It was a sharp contrast to Saturday morning spent reviewing TIFF films (and writing snarky TIFF-related articles), reading the latest GQ guide to suits, and trying to keep the heat in my dad’s wood-fire smoker at an even 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, a mixed martial arts fight isn’t a typical night out for me.
The event I so uncharacteristically attended was the twenty-seventh promoted by Hard Knocks Fighting, which promised amateur and professional fighters and advertises as the “fastest growing MMA promotion in Canada.” Of course, they’ve got a leg up due to the fact that the legal status of MMA varies across our divided country. This is part of the reason I travelled to Calgary for a fight. The main reason, though, is that my brother Matt was one of the twenty fighters on the card.
Ten fights (seven amateur, three professional) is a lot of bang for your buck, and the nature of MMA means the fights are diverse and exciting. Boxing becomes jujitsu which quickly becomes wrestling.
The shortest fight lasted a scant sixteen seconds, when Chris Chapman threw a quick punch into Scott MacDonald’s chin for a TKO. The longest fights went all three rounds, one of which consisted of Randy Chung and Patrick Ward, both weighing in at a scrappy 135 pounds, punching, kneeing, flipping, and throwing each other around the cage until the judges declared a draw.
Pretty? No. Exhilarating? Definitely.
Even though I’m back in Toronto and getting ready to hit the rush lines with a well heeled and suitably snarky crowd, I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before I’m back at the ringside for another bout.
As for Matt? He got TKO’ed in the first round. Scott McKenzie cracked open Matt’s recently broken nose, but Matt snorted blood and wouldn’t stop until Scott hit him again. Even then, the referee had to call the fight, because Matt just wouldn’t quit.
Hard Knocks Fighting operates in Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Estevan, Prince Alberta, and, soon, a city near you.
Image courtesy of Stefan Tell.