Tag Archive for mma

Don’t Let Him Fall On You!

Ever see a 600-pound man in a fight? Dig:

The smaller man’s strategy of wearing the guy out starts to work quick. When people get that big, it’s a struggle just to exist, much less engage in physical combat. When he finally toppled, and the smaller man escaped, there wasn’t a damn thing he could do.

It reminds me a bit of a local amateur fight featuring a guy that had to weigh 400 pounds. No kidding, the man was built like Grimace.

Grimace

Come at me, bro!

He, too, had a tough time getting around the ring and took huge swipes at his opponent without really connecting. He took several hits to the gut, and at one point started to fall. He waved his arms, calling off the fight all the way down to the canvas.

I’m pretty sure he was tapping out to gravity.

The real trick for the little guy in these fights is making sure the behemoth doesn’t fall on him. If you thought the headline was a joke, check out this other fight featuring the same 600-pound man. Jump to the 2:00 mark, where the ref is resetting the combatants because the little guy was working on an escape but was falling out of the ring.

But hey, at least they had the guts to step into the ring…

*Ba-dump bump tsshh!*

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

This week’s Photo Friday comes from last weekend’s East Peoria Throwdown Round 8, a local MMA event that comes around two or three times per year. I’ve posted the full set to Flickr, but my favorite happens to be one called “Ouch”:

Ouch

As Joe Rogan would say: "He's got a little mouse under his eye!"

The fight got called between rounds for safety reasons. A pro fight would probably have meant a cutman draining the contusion and putting the fighter back out there, but this is amateur bout and they don’t take chances.

I shot the whole set with my 50mm f1.8 prime lens, and this time jacked up the ISO to 1600 and left it there. The pictures came out much better than previous experiments, so I will probably stick to this routine. The only thing left to battle is focusing through the damn cage and on the fighters.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Slammin’

I went to the East Peoria Throwdown MMA event last Saturday, and despite previous headaches with my photos due to a combination of lighting and the cage fence, I talked myself into bringing the camera once again.

And once again I had some of the same headaches. Despite shooting over 400 shots (to be fair, I use continuous shutter a lot to capture action), I only uploaded 16 to the Flickr set. I could still have been pickier, but then I wouldn’t have had as much for you to look at.

On to the pic. I like this one because it captures the action nicely, and the cage isn’t as distracting.

One Slam, Coming Up

One Slam, Coming Up!

I think it demonstrates the constant give-and-take in the cage, too. The fighter on top has jumped guard to attempt a guillotine choke. The risk now is the standing fighter can slam him to the ground. The fighter on top may be able to keep his grip, and may be able to pull guard by wrapping his legs the rest of the way around his opponent’s hips (thus controlling them). Or, if the standing fighter slams him hard enough, he’ll lose his grip and the advantage. If he hits his head, he could be knocked out, or at least be stunned long enough for this opponent to pound him into the mat for a TKO.

I used my 50mm prime lens that night, opting for lighting and speed (lower aperture) over the zoom capability of my telephoto. I found using continuous autofocus helped with focusing through the fence a little, but I still had plenty of shots of a nice, crisp, black fence and two blurs battling it out on the other side. Ah well.

There will be one more sport-themed photo next week as a friend of mine has tickets to the Peoria Rivermen hockey game. They’re hosting the Chicago Wolves, so it should be a great time. We’ll be a lot closer to the ice than I’ve sat in the past, so I’ll probably go with my 18-55mm lens.

Bonus: the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders will be at the game, too! Will Photo Friday feature cheerleaders or some hockey action? Tune in and find out.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday Saturday: Victory

This week’s Photo Friday pic comes from the Throwdown IV MMA event in East Peoria Saturday night. We were treated to almost 30 great fights, and my friends and I had a great time.

King of this cage

King of this cage

This is the third Throwdown event I’ve attended at the East Peoria Event Center, and the event gets a little better every time. For example, they went from a hexagon to a full octagon between their second and third events, and this time they added a projector and video screen to give fans a better look at the action. Our only beef with the logistics was the parking lot was an absolute mess of mud and gravel, and they filled it up before the event started.

All in all it was a great evening. Most of the fighters came from the Central Illinois Combat Club and the Peoria Athletic Club, and they were determined to put on a good show. Most of the MMA fights ended in submissions and ref stoppage, and the other fights included a mix of grappling and Muay Thai matches. Next time my friends and I intend to show up a little earlier so we can sit closer to the cage and get a better look at the ground work, as some of the fighters looked like they put a lot of work into their grappling training.

I shot over 300 pics of the event (not counting the couple dozen I erased between bouts), and I dropped 26 in a Flickr set. I stuck with my 50mm prime lens so I could work without a flash, but I still had to crank up my camera’s ISO rating to get an acceptable shutter speed at the distance I shot from. As a result there’s a lot more noise in the pics than I’d otherwise want to deal with.

The other problem I ran into was the cage itself. The camera picked it up as often as it did the fighters, so I boosted the aperture to get a larger depth of field. I also played with manual focus some, but the distance still made it tough to see the finer details I wanted to focus on (and the focus ring was right near its limit anyway). I probably could have gotten away with using my 55-200mm zoom lens for tighter shots and better control of focus, a trade-off for sacrificing another stop or so of aperture. Instead most of what you’ll see is tightly cropped from the originals, making the noise and focus issues even more obvious.

Next time I may suck it up and haul in a camera bag so I can have all my lenses available. I may be less polite and stand up to take some shots so I don’t get so many backs of other fans’ heads, too. Heck, if I wanted to really go nuts, I could borrow another camera body from work or a friend and have both lenses ready to go without having to mount and unmount them between bouts or rounds.

I’m sure my friends would love it. Heh.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

MMAke Me Laugh

The UFC made this video called Randy Couture Divorce Attorney for one of their award shows, and it’s worth a laugh:

Of course, this was intentionally funny. Another MMA artifact I can’t help but laugh at is this Bas Rutten commercial the Cartoon Network has been running to remind kids to wash their hands to knock out germs:

I think the best part about the the commercial is Bas isn’t necessarily putting on much of an act! Check out this cut of his self defense training video:

Ba-dangada-dangada, the man’s insane!

But in a fun way. Please don’t beat me up, Bas. I catch you on Inside MMA all the time.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Throwdown 3

The Main Event!
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

I attended Throwdown 3 Saturday night, a mixed martial arts event in East Peoria featuring 20 fights. This time I had a seat at a VIP table, putting me just ten or fifteen feet back from the octagon. What a blast!

I took a handful of pics with my cell phone (I should really try to bring a real camera next time), and the one above came from the main event. They had some technical difficulties and their sound system made it tough to catch all the fighters’ names, but there were some great fights as the night rolled on. Most ended in submission or TKO, but a couple went the distance and there was one solid knockout.

A local fighter named Derrick Noble refereed some of the matches, and having fought in the UFC and other events, he was a little more forgiving in matches that went to the ground than the other refs. In the two female bouts, an obvious local favorite named Kathy Snell won her match with an armbar and improved her record to 3-0. We recognized a few other fighters from the last event, but again couldn’t hear all their names.

The earlier fights seemed to be the most inexperienced fighters. Some of them looked like young teenagers, and a few didn’t even look like they were in any shape to fight. I realize we’re not talking UFC-level professionals here, but these guys looked like the promoter recruited them out of the parking lot at random. One guy didn’t even protect his face, and at one point he looked over at his corner and ended up catching a thrust kick to the gut. We couldn’t believe it, as we even teach our white belts to never take their eyes off their opponent!

I give them credit for having the sack to get in there, but I have to wonder, how many of them walked out realizing this isn’t where they belong? Better they find out in the ring with a ref and paramedics on hand than in their buddy’s back yard, too.

All in all a great night. I’m already looking forward to Throwdown 4. With luck they’ll put together some fliers with the fighters’ names, weight classes, and styles then, too.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Violence Inherent in the System

I’m getting tired of elitist pricks like this guy shitting on mixed martial arts and its fans because somehow MMA is inferior to or is more primitive or brutal than boxing.

For starters, his article makes it clear that he has little or no understanding of what’s happening within the octagon. If he were a true sports columnist and wanted to objectively cover an emerging sport, he would visit a few gyms and talk to some of the fighters and get an idea of how the various martial arts are used in a fight. He’d get a better feel for the strategy involved and the physical requirements to be a successful fighter.

He might also start to understand some of the fighters involved in the sport. Yes, some of them are big, dumb thugs who don’t know how (or don’t have the ambition) to do anything else, but can any more be said of some of the boxers out there? Some of the fighters are every bit as interested in the sporting aspect of the game, and still others are interested in the martial art side of it, fancying themselves modern day warriors or gladiators.

Then there’s the blood. Yes, it’s messy, but it’s a necessary consequence of the game. The fighters need their fingers free for grappling, thus requiring smaller gloves with less padding. Compound that with the (albeit limited) use of elbows and you get cuts. If you stop a fight for every bit of blood, you’d bring every match to a screeching halt. However, if the cuts are too deep or dangerous, the doctors stop the fight. Is that not limit enough?

I don't care what he says, that's a hell of a knockout.

As for the fans and their bloodlust, are you really going to tell me boxing fans are any different? That the Average Joe plunking down his money for a boxing pay per view or arena seat isn’t hoping one fighter or the other isn’t going to get his brains beaten in? Are you really going to tell me there aren’t as many greedy promoters taking advantage of fighters in boxing as there are in MMA? That there aren’t as many broken and battered fighters ending their careers after one concussion too many?

I have no problem if they want to slam some of the fighters or some aspects of the showmanship. Some of the fighters are going to show poor sportsmanship; that’s just human nature. Tyson didn’t do his sport any more credit than some of the MMA guys have. The smack talk may get more coverage than it deserves, but that’s marketing. The UFC is going after the wrestling audience, and the smack talk is a huge part of the professional wrestling show.

Brock Lesnar and his post-fight comments are a great example of this. The guy’s a former WWE wrestler, and he sounded like it. Unfortunately this is what gets all the media attention, not all the times guys like Anderson Silva will bow to their opponents in a show of respect, or the times where fighters will raise their opponent’s hand after a match or even give them a congratulatory hug.

A columnist or sports reporter doesn’t like certain aspects of the game? Fine. But don’t pick and choose the parts that reinforce your obvious bias. Cover the events for what they are: a sport. If you can still play up baseball as a great American sport after all the athletes who have disgraced it through steroid abuse, there’s no reason not to look into why this new sport is growing in popularity and find out what’s behind the blood and spectacle that draws the rest of us to it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Watchin' Fists Fly

I didn’t expect much out of the mixed martial arts matches when I hit Throwdown 2 in East Peoria Saturday night, but there were some great fights. I had a good view of the cage, and with 15 fights and 2 more female fights, it was an exciting evening. I did take a few pictures, but I was stuck with my CrackBerry camera so they’re a bit grainy.

Thats gotta hurt.

That's gotta hurt.

Only one fight went to decision, and it was still an exciting fight. The ladies’ matches were also far more exciting than some of the female bouts I’ve seen on TV, but one ended in a disqualification and the other ended when the corner man threw in the towel. The majority of matches ended in submissions, but there were a few ref stoppages, a doctor stoppage, and a couple knockouts. The doctor stoppage came after the first round ended: the bell rang, the fighter went to his corner, then just fell over. The docs took a look at him and it was declared a knockout. In the other scary knockout, one fighter got choked unconscious and the ref apparently didn’t notice it in time. It was a good minute or so before he showed any signs of stirring, and you could just feel the crowd holding its collective breath until the docs helped the fighter to his feet.

The sound system at the event center sucked, but we had a good time picking apart the entrance music for some of the fighters. One, for example, entered to Drowning Pool’s “Bodies”:

Effective, sure, but predictable and more than a little cliché. Then you had some rap and hip hop, but their deep bass was lost in the muddy speakers and crummy acoustics of the hall. There were two odd choices, too: “Learning to Fly” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. We heard those opening chords and laughed our asses off.

Don’t get me wrong, theyr’e not terrible songs, I just can’t imagine anyone getting pumped up and ready to fight while listening to either of those tracks. I’ll grant the one fighter probably was going for the pot reference, but the other? No idea. We decided he deserved to get beaten down for coming out to a weak song.

He promptly shut us up by knocking the shit out of his opponent. Three strong right hands and his opponent was down, and not long after that it was all over. Given that performance, he can enter to frickin’ “Fruit Salad” for all I care.

In any case, I can’t wait ’til the event comes back next year. With luck the guys from the dojo will get more VIP tickets next time around so I’ll be right off the canvas.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Ultimate Reality Show

I’ve become addicted to The Ultimate Fighter. I can’t stand most reality shows, but this one’s pretty simple: get a bunch of thugs together in one house, watch them screw with one another, then watch them vent their frustrations in the ring. No getting voted off islands, no silly games for immunity, no ridiculous challenges, just a bunch of punchy dudes in a posh house all ready to pummel their buddies into oblivion.

I can think of worse ways to spend an evening. I mean come on, where else are you going to see the coach of one team shoot another with a net gun?

My own karate training has sparked a new appreciation of UFC and mixed martial arts, but I don’t tune in for every fight. The Ultimate Fighter, meanwhile, now has a season pass on my DVR. Screw Survivor, American Idol, and Big Brother; this isn’t a popularity contest or a contrived competition, it’s 16 guys and 2 coaches beating the piss out of one another. It’s simple, it’s brutal, and it’s just beautiful.

It’s funny, though, having to defend grappling to people who don’t understand it. Yes, sometimes it looks awkward when two guys are twisted together in a certain way, but believe me, it’s far from comfortable. Rather than explaining it, however, I found this simple poster that makes it simple:

Jiu Jitsu

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.