What a wild night it was in Newark New Jersey for the Elite XC show. First off a big congratulation goes out to Binky Jones from Ground Control after his dominating performance in his win over Calvin Katter. Binky finished the fight with a rear naked choke that was in tight and signaled the end of the night for Katter.
Here are my thoughts on the fights that were on television:
Brett Rogers vs Jon Murphy: Brett just crushed Murphy flush on the jaw with a big right hand. Murphy was in dream land when he hit the mat. There were some questionable moments during the night, but this was not one of them. Murphy was swinging for the fences and got caught. Rogers would entertain way more later in the evening which I will get to in a bit. Busta Rhymes came out to the cage with Rogers and Busta has put on some pounds since back in the day.
Joey Villasenor vs Phil Baroni: I think Phil Baroni spent more time walking to the cage with his Ric Flair than he did in the actual fight. Baroni was absolutely rocked by several unanswered shots to his face. This again was a legit stoppage, and trust me if anyone would have cried if the fix would have been in, it would have been Baroni, but he admitted in the post fight interview that he took a beating.
Gina Carano vs Kaitlin Young : The building went crazy when Gina made her way to the cage, and I can see why. There have been many who have thought Gina is not as dedicated to mixed martial arts now that she is doing movies, tv, and video games. For those who thought that, she proved that wrong Saturday night. After a close 1st round, Gina dominated Kaitlin in the 2nd ultimately leading to the fight being stopped due to a nasty cut under Kaitlin’s eye, this was a very legit stoppage. That was a nasty cut under her eye and seeing her after the fight; her eye was swollen and looked like she had a lacrosse ball stuck under her eye.
Robbie Lawler vs Scott Smith: This was the fight of the night. Robbie and Scott were going back and forth the entire fight. After fans who are not very knowledgeable were booing these two fighters early on, soon everyone was hanging on every second of the fight. Into the third round Smith incidentally caught a finger in the eye from Robbie. At this point the fight was stopped to give Smith a chance to regroup. Smith was holding his eye and taking a while to try and get his vision back when the doctor came in and said the fight had to be stopped. Apparently Smith told the doctor he could not see, but would be ok in a little while. The doctor decided she could not risk that and decided to stop the fight. Since it was a title fight, under New Jersey rules, it can not go to the judges since three rounds were not completed. Here is the score card from the fight up to the stoppage:
Judge Bittencourt : Rd. 1: 10-9 Lawler Rd. 2 : 10-9 Smith
Judge Colon : Rd. 1: 10-9 Lawler Rd. 2 : 10-9 Smith
Judge Crosby : Rd. 1: 10-9 Lawler Rd. 2: 10-9 Lawler
Both fighters were awarded their fight bonuses and clearly will see each other again. After the fight, Smith was in the press conference room, and his face was an absolute mess. Smith also stated that he broke his foot during the fight with Lawler.
This is where the controversy would begin, but would be far from over with before the night was through.
Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson: First off the roof almost came off the building when Kimbo came to the cage. I would guess to say 85% of the over 8,000 that were in attendance were there to see Kimbo. Kimbo was completely out of his element when Thompson took him to the ground. Thompson really did not take advantage of the situation in my opinion as he had several chances to try and submit Kimbo. I thought Thompson won the first two rounds. I question if Kimbo tapped or not during the 2nd round. Several people, including fighters, media, and others said he clearly tapped, but they did not stop the fight. I also think that the ref saved Kimbo at the end of the 2nd round when he took about 10-15 punches to the face. Also Thompson had Kimbo on the ground and in a dominating position called side control before the ref made them stand up. The stoppage at the end was questionable also in my opinion. Kimbo had connected on Thompson’s ear, and blood was pouring out, but I do not think that was enough to stop the fight. Kimbo probably would have finished Thompson, but he had taken much harder shots than that earlier in the fight and answered right back. I would say that if 85% of the arena was for Kimbo before the fight, about 35% were for him after the fight. There were many boo’s and other chants being said when the fight was stopped.
The post fight press conference took an interesting turn when Brett Rogers called out Kimbo Slice to his face and used words such as garbage, and other words I am not allowed to type or say to his face. He looked Kimbo in the face and told him “you tapped out” referring to the controversy surrounding the fight. He also said I did not know you could win a fight three times and still lose referring to Thompson. Kimbo took exception to that and got up and then things went crazy for about 5 minutes. Scott Smith who was on the podium with other fighters at the press conference, immediately got up and hopped out of the way on a broken foot to avoid being in the confrontation. Gina Carano was pulled out of the way by her father who was a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Robbie Lawler and Phil Baroni were trying to play peace keeper and keep Rogers and Kimbo from each other as much as possible.I was at one time standing next to Kimbo’s brother in the back of the room before he ran to the front of the room as both fighters entourage’s soon joined into the shouting and insulting one another. It was a very intense couple of moments there in the press conference and it was real, that was not staged at all. You knew something was going to happen when Kimbo walked in the room and walked across the stage shaking every fighters hand before he reached Rogers who basically shrugged Kimbo off and would not even look at him. I will be posting the edited audio of the confrontation on the website this afternoon. Here is a video from Sherdog.com of the confrontation between Rogers and Kimbo.
There were some celebrities in the press conference after the fight as Shawne Merriman of the Chargers was in the room along with Brad Penny and Rafael Furcal of the Los Angles Dodgers. Matt Hughes was also in the room along with Mark Coleman, the newly inducted UFC Hall of Famer. Plaxico Burres walked in the arena during one of the early fights in the night and the building went crazy. There were several of the New York Giants and Knicks in attendance for the fights.
I had an absolute blast covering my first live MMA event, and hope to do more of them in the future. I am sure this card along with tonight’s Urijah Faber Jens Pulver fight will be a big topic of discussion this Thursday on the MMA segment during the Rob Long Show.
Like to hear what you thought of the fights, whether you are a novice or a MMA fan.