This past weekend’s brawl between Jake Ellenberger and Jake Shields reminded me of a weekend back in February of 2007 where history was made in MMA, and it is little credited. No it wasn’t the UFC, it was the now defunct bodogFIGHT league, but despite the UFC’s juggernaut status, they still haven’t pulled off what bodogFIGHT did that weekend.
Seventy two fighters and their entourages spent two weeks on a resort in Costa Rica filming the TV shows that would air on Infinity TV. The plan was 12 fights a day for three days straight, and they pulled it off.
One observer pointed out that the Saturday, the middle day, was the most bizarre of all. You had fighters banged up from the Friday fights, and fighters ready to go for that day’s fights, and others preparing to weigh in for the Sunday fights. It was fight day, day before the fights and day after the fights all at once.
And the talent there was mind boggling. Aside from Shields and Ellenberger, there was a myriad of fighters that would go on to the world stage.
The talent in the women’s division alone was unbelievable. Rosie Sexton, perhaps the most cerebral fighter on the planet showed her visualization techniques. She sets a timer for 5 minutes and closes her eyes, visualizing the rounds on the day before the fight. One round she wins, one round she loses and the third is a war. This way there is very little she isn’t prepared for in a fight.
Except for what happened. She fought a Japanese girl named Windy Tomomi, who unfortunately suffered a brutal injury to her foot in round 2. Windy was flown to a hospital in a helicopter the size of a volkswagon. Marty Corwin, the executive producer who works for Bob Arum and Top Rank now, fainted on the spot.
Chael Sonnen fought. Eddie Alvarez fought. Trevor Prangley fought. UFC reality show winner Roy Nelson fought. Recent UFC signee Francis Carmont fought. Andre Semenov. British fighter Brad Pickett is in the UFC now. Fedor Emilianenko was there as a guest.
There was another connection to this past weekend, and that was that Bob Sheridan was part of the team calling the fights. Sheridan, known as the ‘Colonel’ did the Mayweather-Ortiz fight, and I must admit he was very hard working and did a more than passable job calling MMA with veteran announcers Paul Lazenby and Jeff Osborne. It is a bit distasteful listening to the ‘Colonel’ tell stories about Philipino hookers, as he is in his seventies, but every incredible weekend has it’s low points.
Of course the league bodogFIGHT is gone now, and they certainly deserve criticism for poor management, but on that weekend in February of 2007 they pulled off something incredible, something that has not been duplicated and is unlikely to be. Go and look it up.