|Something far bigger then any single MMA event was on display at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. Unknown to the litany of innocent passersby and the people in the streets that walked by the building that day,
Something far bigger then any single MMA event was on display at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. Unknown to the litany of innocent passersby and the people in the streets that walked by the building that day, History was being made on the very ground they walked by, as the first sanctioned MMA event in the History of British Columbia was being played out in front of a rambunctious crown on Oct 25th 2002. A bold step for Mixed Martial Arts in Canada and the world for that matter had taken place, as one of the biggest cities in Canada played host to the World Freestyle Fighting Championships, but as history has shown in the past, it is not always easy to walk the path of the pioneer. The Mayor of the city himself has less then appreciative words for the WFF and the sport of MMA, and many a hurdle was left to be vaulted before the night would even come to pass. The Vancouver athletics commission sat on one side, and on the other was MMA, who would prevail? Fortunately both would end up on the same side of the battle field as the professional nature of the event and the sport shone through, and the commission had nothing but good things to say. Oh
and the fights were pretty Solid Bunch too.
Fight 1 - Jeremy Whittingham Vs Gord Cummings
If you are wondering, no it was not the singer Gordon Cummings that would set foot into the ring against the Local boy Jeremy Whittingham. Jeremy would be taking on Vanderhoof product and WFF veteran Gord Cummings. Jeremy would have this fight from the get go starting the night off swiftly with a nice overhand right that connected and sent a buzz through the crowd as first contact was made for the night. Following a flurry, he took Cummings down and controlled from side mount landing multiple solid knees to the ribs. A quick switch to the mount brought down an unwelcome flurry of leather on Cummings and when he gave his back to deflect the oncoming punishment, Whittingham was waiting with a rear naked choke just for him. Whittingham wins via Rear Naked Choke at 3:25 of round one.
Fight 2 - Justin Livingston Vs Ragin Kajun Johnson
In the only Decision in the cards for the night, a very tightly contested match-up would be in the cards for both Livingston and Johnson. Justin Livingston started early securing the first takedown of the night and looked content to work the methodical ground and pound. That would not be enough to keep the aptly named Raging Kajun Johnson on the mat as he performed a Nicely executed reversal to change the tide of the fight into his favor and began unleashing a violent flurry of punches down on his head. He would be unable to finish from here and Livingston would make his way back to his feet only to eat a flying knee that was waiting for him when they separated. Round two would be a Livingston round as he took Kajun down and controlled him from the top position and pounded his way to a majority decision after two five minute rounds. MMA Ringreport had this fight as a draw but Livingston wins via majority decision after 2 rounds
Fight 3 - Garret Davis Vs Jason Hardgraves
In the quickest fight of the night, Hargrave stops Davis early in the round with a combination that stunned Davis dropping his hands, wobbling him and sending the referee in to stop the contest. One thing of note was that after the referee halted the bout Hargrave swung around, came back and punched Davis in the face one more time after the fight was over, but he later apologized for the unsportsmanlike gesture saying he thought the fight was still active. Hargrave wins via ref stoppage due to punishment at :15 seconds of round one.
Fight 4 - Anthony Hamlett Vs Blake Fredrickson
Experienced Hook N Shoot veteran and AMC Pankration fighter under Matt Hume , Anthony Hamlett would come in against the less experienced Blake Fredrickson. Hamlett looked a little softer then he has in previous fights and after working hard for, and getting a takedown, he would be unable to continue due to a separated shoulder. Blake Fredrickson wins via injury at 2:16 of round one.
Fight 5 Kultar Gill Vs David Sholten
Sholton looked ready and wiling to dish out punishment as he started fast against Gill throwing a flying kick that was not far off the mark to forego the feeling out process. Both of these fighters are supposedly friends outside of the ring but inside it looked like both wanted this fight very badly. Kultar Gill known for his striking and Sholten for his grappling were ready to forego their friendships for the win and Kultar Gill surprisingly uses his grappling skills to win the contest by taking the back of Sholten and choking him out. Kultar Gill wins via rear naked choke 2:06 or round 1.
Fight 6 Amir Rahnivardi Vs Stephane Potvin
Round one was a solid one with both fighters getting in their shots in a fairly even first stanza. Amir would get a nice knee and Potvin would work a submission attempt or two from his back and the close first round was over. Stephane was able to get a takedown to start round two but after a standup he caught Amir Flush in the chin with a punch that rocked him buckling his knees, sending him in for a takedown attempt. Potvin would not stop there and dropped several unanswered hammerfists into the head of Amir and the referee stepped in to halt the contest. It looked like the fight was stopped a tad early but I feel the outcome of the fight would not have been different. Amir was in trouble and did not defend himself from the hammerfists so the referee had no choice but to stop the fight. I feel the slightly early stoppages did not affect the outcome of the fights but I do see the viewpoint of the fighters and the fans. Potvin wins vis Ref Stoppage round 2
A look back
The low number of fights on the card were definitely something that could have been remedied but considering the untimely rash of unfortunate injuries, it was understandable. Injuries decimated the card up to and including the day of the fight. Vancouver boy Dennis Kang broke his hand in his previous fight, and would be dropped from the card in favor of banger, Stephane Potvin. The night before the fights were to take place, Victoria product and MFC veteran Chris Peak ate at Tony Romas Restaurant and accidentally swallowed a portion of a rib bone. The Rib bone went through his system and pierced his intestinal walls causing internal bleeding and blood in his urine and stool, a call to 911 quickly ended all hopes of Mr. Peak from competing on the card. To Top that off, the day of the fights Roger Neff, who was to be the main event, did a No Show!!! He did not submit his medical forms to the Vancouver athletics commission and did not show up for the event at all, to the disappointment of the fans, the Promoter and of course his opponent Chris Franco. Like all combat events injuries will always play a part in the end product, but it is the resolve of the event and the fighters that are tested and retested until the product finally stands on its own. The product today stood on its own, and was a solid start of what we as MMA fans hope will be the beginning of a beautiful relationship between MMA and Canada. Here is to the sport of MMA. The greatest sport in the world.