Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Cage Warriors 49 - King of the Monsters

Sucks to be back at work again.

Everyone says that on these things right?

Well we can't all be wrong. Unless you are lucky enough to do something you love for a living.

Maybe even then it starts becoming like work somehow like it did when I was writing more for a living. I guess it's the human condition.

We just find it really sad, we thought being in a band would be so brilliant and yet it just becomes a routine like anything else. 

You know, whatever you choose to do in life, even if you love it, within a few months of doing it it's just the same thing every day but now it's just - wake up, travel, sound check, gig, wake up, travel, sound check, gig. 

When we first started that was brilliant and now it's just the same. There's something about human nature that just reduces life down to a routine.
Richey Edwards

This week's bundle of shiny violence came courtesy of Cage Warriors. I've been lucky enough to judge 10 of their events this year and every single one has been special in some way or another.

There's been no shortage of great fights, awesome company and phenomenal tea to be had throughout 2012 but I already knew that this show in Wales was going to be an amazing experience.

Cage Warriors 49 marked the organizational judging debut of my long time mma comrade Mr. David Lethaby who, after slogging away judging fights for years just like myself, got the call to head to Wales and make sense of it all.

The trips would include a flask of tea, S-Express, a long discussion about the Eastern front of the Second World War and some shortbread. Our hotel was out of the way but luckily enough we jumped in a cab with the usual suspects to get to the venue.

The evening was a cacophony of local heartache and close fought battles which I shall attempt to recount.
  • Welsh fans love a bit of a singalong don't they. Yes that's obvious but it's a true spectacle to behold when you look up into the crowd to see hundreds of Welsh types singing "You Jack Bastard" as anyone from Swansea walks in.
  • Alan Philpott is legit. That was arguably the performance of the night as he stepped in there against a very dangerous Kris Edwards and got the finish in impressive fashion.
  • If you're sitting at a table with sweets that are yours and somebody says "What's that up there?", it's always a trap. Always. Damn you people.
  • Once again a quick shout out to the likely lads who made the after show event such a civilised do. There's something magical about that first cup of tea after an mma event. That's some of my favourite stuff right there.
  • Faycal Hucin's dancing cheers everyone up. The dude rocks out like a cross between Andrew Ridgely and Papa Shango.
  • Close fights are close yo! Leave it to the pros Professor Plum.
  • Kev Reed vs. Lee Caers was bad ass. My fight of the night. Both showed crazy amounts of heart and I was hoping it would go a third. Anyhow, it was a great scrap. Well worth a watch.

It's obvious ain't it?

Short of picking a game with the title "UNIT" there was always going to be time for a bit of big old giggles.
Cathal Pendred looks like a cross between Captain America and Kurt Angle. There's no questioning the will of that guy, especially when Carvalho had him in that armbar. That looked very tight.

Thing with Pendred is that you've gotta get him out of there. You ain't out grinding that guy. It's a difficult style to judge and not the most kinetic to watch from time to time but you can't get away from the bottom line of the situation. He wins fights. A lot of fights.

Those two guys were arguably the biggest welters on the planet and, as I stood looking upwards at the cage from the judges table, I realised I'd made the right choice in going into judging.

Pendred deadlegging you to death whilst slicing you through the cage like a boiled potato? MISERABLE
Carvalho trying to pull your arm clean out of socket to mount above his fireplace? MISERABLE

I'm off to for the first walk home in the dark of 2012 so, if I make it home, I'll speak to you good people very soon.

Take Care
Love Always

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Shock N Awe 12 - Parappa the Rapper

Weekend off coming up?

It's crazy to think that this Saturday I won't be driving up and down the great motorways of this fair isle and working at an event. I think, subconsciously, that's why I bought XCOM for the PS3 last night. It's good by the way, very good.

Last Saturday was the biggest commute that I do at present, not counting shows abroad, as I drove down to Portsmouth for Shock N Awe 12. As always you can read an official report of what went down here.

I set off at 11:30 am and got there at just after 3pm. I lost count of the number of times I sang along to Still of the Night but that somehow, just got me more excited for the day at hand. I walked in the venue as the final touches were being administered. It reminded me of the end of Teenwolf but without the guy in the stands flashing.

The fights were crazy, the food was awesome and the drive home was a piece of cake. Big thanks to all the crew who made it a great night as always. I left Portsmouth at 10:30 PM and was home for 1:45 AM. Just in time to catch up with the UFC prelims, put the kettle on, and not go to bed till 6.

Big old day.

Sunday, however, was even more epic as me and my longest serving friend Tran went to Manchester for the Replay Expo. Imagine a warehouse full of old videogames, arcades on freeplay, pinball machines on freeplay, stands, racist pandas and people dressed up as Dan from Street Fighter Alpha.

Arguably the best Sunday I've had in a very long time.

Anyhow it's time for a few rye observations about Shock N Awe 12.
  • It's weird seeing Jack Mason fight with a height advantage. Welter suits him. Now he's got the cut right there's every chance he can do something. He's undoubtedly got all the tools. A clinical performance from the Stone.
  • Stu Tyrie's a gamer. That guy always brings it. Back to back stoppages by cuts probably mean he should take a little time away to train and give his body a chance to bounce back but there's no shortage of good fights for him.
  • Mike Ling's elbows are so sharp you could slice Honey roast ham with them. Nobody wants to be anywhere near those when they start landing.
  • That armbar from Brett Caswell looked horrible. I could feel the bursa sacs popping from the other side of the booth as he locked that on.
  • Matt Hughes needs to, at least once, walk out to A Country Boy can Survive
  • Owain Parry's a bit of a savage. Him and Timur Mercanoglu both looked very impressive.
  • There's never a bad time for a Samosa.
  • Also it was nice to see the usual GYM 01 crew in attendance supporting team mates and helping out.
  • The UNIT of the night award went to James Brum who, despite facing stern competition, looked every part the unit as he took the buffet to task in the interval.

This may seem niche and ridiculous but then you wouldn't be reading if you didn't already realise that.

Ever play Parappa the Rapper?

It was overlooked as one of the forefathers of the rhythm action explosion that would happen later on. You played what looked like a dog in a hat as you went through a typical day trying to impress a girl you liked. The problem was that you didn't believe you could do any of it so it was all much more difficult than it should have been.

Here's the deal.

One thing I've learned over the past few months is that, as more and more fighters are given amazing opportunities to train and get better, the mental game becomes even more important. It's frustrating as a fan to watch a fighter with all the physical tools break mentally and lose. That sounds selfish. Maybe it is a bit.

Jack Mason and Mike Ling are two good examples of guys who have all the tools to do very big things in this sport. This Saturday it was great to see both of them put on the kind of performances they're capable of and take home title belts in the process. The difference? They both believed in their own abilities and worked hard to get the right results.

What you gotta do?
You gotta believe people.
You gotta believe.

Speak soon
Take Care

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

UCMMA 30 - Shinobi

This week I commandeered a teapot at work that was sitting in a drawer doing nothing.
I cleaned it up, disinfected it, washed it again and then went home to contemplate how righteous this all was.
This morning I walked to work and bought some sugar cubes and a small bottle of milk.
There's no way this decadence lasts forever but, while it does, it's truly glorious.

UCMMA you say?

Oh yeah I knew I'd started writing for a reason. I just got excited when I began to type and all I saw over the desk was my beloved teapot.

The event was full of the surreal excellence that I've come to expect from the Troxy on a Saturday night and as I strolled back to the hotel, I was amazed to think that I've been fortunate enough to commentate the show for the last two years. I can't tell you where all the time has gone.

These are the things I noticed from watching mixed martial arts this week:
  • Aurelijus Kerpe is without doubt my favourite fighter in the UK. He's close to being my favourite fighter currently active in the entire sport somehow. I can't put into words how bad ass it is to watch him wander into the cage like he's turned up to fix the lights and smash someone. You'll see it tonight. I lost my mind calling that one.
  • Ben McGonigle showed more heart than I've seen in a very long time in his win over a very talented Dan Elie. Don't get me wrong you'll see both of them again, but you can't teach that kind of heart. You just can't.
  • Andy Cona probably does need to seriously reflect on this loss and take some time off. It's not good for you getting switched off like that; even less so when you've probably got a fight booked in a week or so.
  • Chase Morton throwing two hundred God of Gamblers style spin kicks and promptly gassing was fun to watch. Not for him I imagine but, in his defence, he caught Tommy King with a nice shot that sat him down for a second.
  • Galore Bofando is an athletic freak. You already knew that. Unlucky to lose that one on a DQ but credit to his opponent who nailed a nice Judo throw.
  • Neil Grove vs. Darren Towler? WOW. I'm already sounding the UNIT alarm on that one.

I've always loved the Shinobi games.

As a kid I used to pretend I was Joe Musashi and jump over things while dressed in an ill fitting headscarf that I found in a box full of linen. I didn't get injured either which is probably more of a miracle.

I think the thing I liked the most about Shinobi was the fact that he was faceless. In victory or defeat he adopted the same steel eyed determination to move forward and keep moving forward.

I like the fact that he just used to turn up, throw down and then leave.

I'm not unconvinced that Kerpe isn't working for some kind of secret operations team away from the cage because I've never seen anyone so unconcerned with battle in my entire life.

We all root for the underdog. It's natural. We've all been in that situation a million times. When the underdog wins in mma however, it's probably the best feeling in the world. It's hard to sum up what we feel when that happens but briefly on Saturday, in between screaming about Lithuanian Soul Stealers, I think I probably did it justice.

Until next time
Speak soon
Take Care

Kerpe is beast.