Thursday, 13 December 2012
I'll never run out of games.
This month's been a great one for gaming to be honest. Sony finally pulled their fingers out and put Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PSN and I won auctions on Sunset Riders, Parodius and Megaman X for my SNES.
It's good, it's always been good.
I've also ordered a few shirts from Meatbun.us as well. Insert Coin is cool in places but is quickly becoming a bit redundant somehow. That being said I rocked a Viva King shirt this past weekend.
This Saturday I worked my 11th Cage Warriors show this year and it began, as they all do, with a voyage.
Myself and Lethaby hopped on the 9:17 train from Stoke station and, after a quick change in Crewe, settled in for the 250 mile voyage with my Blackberry playbook and a boat load of mid 2000's mma to watch.
I had all kinds of Pride on there but it was Cage Rage that inevitably drew my attention somehow. It was cool looking back at that era where I was such a fan and seeing all the people I regularly chat to at shows now. I even saw a young looking Marc Goddard walking out with Ross Mason.
Dave's opening tack of "Hello Marc, I saw you on an old Cage Rage show on the trip here; you looked about half the size," didn't go as well as he thought it would in his head I imagine but that's another story.
The trip was really relaxing and a nice contrast to the usual marathon drives I've become so used to. I watched as the bustling countryside eventually became a snowy wilderness as we moved towards the highlands. As the train pulled into the final station before Glasgow I became more aware of the people outside, enthralled in the truly everyday.
For a brief few minutes I felt the most overwhelming sense of the Debord as I sat in the perfectly contained warmth and watched society tick over in front of my eyes. I couldn't have stopped anything from happening or purveyed my sense of attachment to these people running up and down and making decisions. It was empowering a funny kind of way. It's kind of romantic to watch the world go by from a safe place and, as much as I was aware of the way in which this spectacle mirrored most of our waking minutes, it filled me with many questions.
There's always many questions. Before I could ask any of them though, the train pulled into Glasgow Station and we went out for a wander before the show. On arriving in city centre, Dave and I grabbed an all you can eat Indian Buffet for 6 quid each, when in Rome and all that, and then made our way to the venue. It's nice to roll into a strange place and see familiar faces. Everything seems fine at that point. I was ready to judge some truly amazing scraps and I wasn't disappointed.
Let's cut to the chase.
Wilson Reis vs. Owen Roddy was the best CW fight of 2012.
You need to watch it. Get a hot drink. I won't judge you if it's not tea. Sit and watch it all the way through. You get it right? I mean you want to watch it again straight away and replay the crazy bits. It's exactly what fighting should be about. Exactly.
I learned a lot of things in Scotland.
1) Don't hide a Toblerone from Graham Boylan
2) 100 street fights will all end the same if you're employing the face down rope a dope
3) That last quote was from Peter Irving. How that dude doesn't have more Twitter followers is a mystery.
4) Getting home is always glorious when you've got someone lovely to see.
5) There's more to come, much much more.
6) This adventure is made possible thanks to so many people but also made enjoyable by my fellow officials and personnel. You know who you are.
The rest of the card was sublime. Dan Hope impressed me, Scott Askham impressed everyone and Brandon Hempleman showed unreal athleticism in a sublime display against Paul McVeigh.
The Scottish people I met were nice but nobody walked out to the Proclaimers. I walked straight back into the hotel to see a messy wedding going on blasting out this gem. We all watched the UFC afterwards as well and, as much as it was heartbreaking to watch idols fall, the fact that I was with friends made it all worth it.
Friday, 30 November 2012
Imagine the set of a terrible sitcom set in the 1970's featuring a load of belligerent and disgruntled factory workers and their out of touch boss. The walls are white woodchip and the shelves are full of nonsense.
I share it with a gentleman called Matt Spooner. He, like myself, is a cynical Samaritan.
We both want to help people but, in the modern workplace, that really isn't enough anymore. It's about ticking boxes and jumping through hoops to ensure that people I'll never meet make more money than I'll ever see in a lifetime.
I think that's the problem with teaching in this kind of training provider context.
Everything is done to make money, not to help people out. I'm pretty sure that my cynical side has flourished more in two years here than it did during six years teaching young offenders.
Anyhow what's the point of this one?
There isn't a point I don't think. Writing just stops me thinking. I think that's why I'm doing it. I've not got a point or a message but sometimes I wonder if there always has to be one.
When I first started writing I would ponder for hours over drafts of different text. I'm not saying I don't edit things now but I often find that when I switch off a little bit that the best stuff happens. It's hard to define best . I think I mean writing that's a more accurate reflection of where I currently am.
It's Friday and
As I was writing this my boss walked in and gave me something menial to do so I look busy. It's the inference that I'm somehow mutinous that I resent the most I think.
Anyhow I digress.
I hope you people have a great weekend.
Thanks for taking the time
Friday, 23 November 2012
Maybe it's just the fact that whenever I read these pages I'm transported back to where ever I'm talking about. If I'm sitting behind my desk at work with a bowl of Chicken and Sweetcorn soup on a rainy Tuesday, I'm only a click away from being back somewhere else. I love it. I miss it. I'm lucky.
I wonder why there's this much escapism in all of this?
Maybe that's what makes writing so liberating in some respects. The second you think about what you're writing you stop writing.
That's why I love it. It's like it's someone else talking in my voice and I'm trying to relay their message as best as I can. I'm not the best typist since I quit playing WoW but that was always going to happen.
Once again the sway in my outlook, this time bought on by the Generation Terrorists re-issue, is a little more sunsetty but I think that's just because it's dark and I'm sleepy more than any kind of motivational shift.
I commentated Fight UK 8 this weekend just gone. In short it was pretty amazing. In long there's some points under here for you to digest.
- The Athena in Leicester really is a nice place to be in. I can imagine me seeing a band that I secretly hate there because they've signed to a major label. A bit like when Thrice signed to Island but, that being said, The Artist in the Ambulance is fairly respectable but nowhere near as good as The Illusion of Safety.
- Asim Hul Haq went B.J. Penn style out of the cage after he won. I wondered if he was going to come back. It was a starching knee he caught Trueman with. Great scrap that.
- I've said it before and I'll say it again, Michal Andryszak is a legitimate HW prospect. You can see Bellator giving him the nod before too long. He's a perfect fit for them. Or KSW obviously.
- Match making is a fine art. Good job from Ali. It's not a coincidence that all these fights are close.
- Maciek Slonina wasn't playing. As soon as a guy who you think will lose starts rolling for a leg, it's time to rethink your bets
This all doesn't stop getting surreal by the way.
I just get better at masking the contempt I grow for the 9-5 on a daily basis.
I guess sometimes survival really is as natural as sorrow.
Until we meet again.
See you real soon
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
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.
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.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
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
Kerpe is beast.
Sunday, 30 September 2012
You don't really need a lot of words when a picture holds a waterfall of memories.
If life is a treasure hunt then these pages are my map somehow.
I always said instruction manuals were for people who were scared of getting electrocuted.
Guess I was wrong.
Saturday, 22 September 2012
Myself, the dangerous one and Jon Hand jumped in the car and hit the A roads before we got to the Hermitage Centre which looked like a cross between Biker Grove and Daley Thompson's Decathlon.
Ali and Dave met us inside the venue as we parked up and sampled the local delights that included bottled water and Mentos. (Disclaimer: These may not actually be made in Loughborough)
The fights were belting and Sledge easily made the best impromptu nickname I've ever heard as he announced Lukasz Klinger as Corporal. And they say suicide is painless.
Full Report here btw!
Anyhow lets take a stroll down bullet point lane.
- Summer's finished hasn't it. Rubbish. 8 warm days and I was away for those so I missed them all. That being said I've only ever finished a show to walk to my car in the light which was in Northampton where everyone got finished in the first round and I was home for 10. Easy night's judging that.
- Carl Booth's ground and pound is heavy sounding. It was like that scene in Jurassic Park on our table and he was across the cage as well. That guy will be fun to watch now he's turning pro.
- Patrick McDonald vs. Awesome Arvis Anderson (Triple A for short) was one of the most entertaining scraps I've seen in a long while. It may have not gone two minutes but both stood and swung like the proverbial garden gates.
- Liam Corrigan's walk out to "The Game" by Motorhead was spoiled only by the fact he didn't flex then spit water. Next time gadget. The dude's impressive tho.
- Miss your first flying knee? Throw another two straight afterwards which also both miss. #heavyweightlogic
- There's some fun fights to be had at semi pro but it's harder to judge. In a three minute round less stuff happens and rule sets are very restrictive. If you can judge ammy well then you're well on your way.
- Also you should really remember who helped you up the ladder as, when you fall down, they won't help you if you fucking stepped on them.
It's so simple and well put together and the engine works so well that it can only result in fun. It's the team that makes it so fun and effective somehow.
Actually that sort of counts.
Time to call it a night
Big few days
Saturday, 8 September 2012
I always end up sounding insincere in my head but on a very serious level every time I get details of the flights at work I can't focus.
Every time I see another fight announced I wonder how it'll pan out and if it'll be a tough one to judge and every time I get off a plane in a crazy country I can't wait to talk to a team of people who make the middle of nowhere seem like home somehow.
It's hard to put into words. It's like the way I wanted being in a band to feel like when I was 19. Anyhow this has got a bit misty eyed somehow. You good people want the scoop right? Here goes nothing:
- Crowds are crazy in Jordan. Seriously amazing from bell to bell and got involved with every single fight that happened.
- Walk out with a Jordanian Flag ala Brum and Ling = Polite applause.
- Beat a hometown favourite then mount the cage and break out some Thiago Silva throat slash to all his fans = Massive heat.
- Bahari's a monster but then you already knew that. Chillingly efficient against a crazily durable Ptasinski in a cracking fight that I knew at the start when they announced it. Team Hellboy's got to be an amazingly pain filled place to train. Scandinavian monsters everywhere. At least they probably listen to death metal.
- Jim Alers is mad talented. That lateral drop throw he hit was one of the most beautifully timed takedowns I've ever seen. Rich Mitchell, spectating at ring side between reffing bouts, stood up and clapped like he'd just seen Sakuraba go past on a unicycle.
- Chris Fields, in shape, is a horrible fight for any middleweight. Kusch's conditioning may have been a little more Chris Moyles than Kriss Akabusi but he couldn't put Fields away even when he got a limb.
- Props to John Kavanagh for some of the best cornerwork I've ever heard as he coached Fields through the tough situations before yelling "He's fucked Chris, he's fucked."
- Business class is like another world. It felt like being part of a secret society that nobody else knows about. I drank so much Diet Coke I got a migraine. I don't even like it normally.
- Running through the airport to see Alison was amazing. Like film amazing. I nearly fell over as well. It's my feet I think. I'm a bit unwieldy sometimes.
It'd be easy for me to half heartedly link a game to this event but Killer Instinct was the first game I played after I finished my last GCSE. I got home from school and walked to the bus station before jumping on the 6A. I looked out the window at a gloriously sunny day before I got home and sat down on my bed and turned the SNES on.
For that split second it's like there was nothing else. My life stretched ahead of me in a way that I'd never felt before and every time I hear the start of that game I always remember what it was like to stare down that seemingly never ending road. Killer Instinct was special in the same kind of way that this event was special.
It's not every day that hotel in the Middle East feels like home but from the second I got there to the morning I left it just felt perfect. Everyone who talked to me, hung out with me, drank tea with me or chatted about anything made the whole experience perfect.
If this is what I'm meant to do with my life then it feels perfect.
If it isn't then when the right thing comes along; I can only imagine how era defining it will have to be to top what I feel right now.
Big stuff happening this month
Go buy Fighters Only for me as well
Friday, 24 August 2012
It's a testament to just how busy I've been of late that I've only just had time to recollect my thoughts after one of the best card of fights I can remember for a long while at UCMMA 29.
It was the most entertaining night's mma I've ever commentated.
Ok there I said it. I legitimately mean it as well. Here's the deal with UCMMA that people just don't seem to get.
The white suit, the crazy one liners, the stupid facial hair and that unique Troxy atmosphere are EVERYTHING that makes that show more fun than I've got the words for. You've got to look at the big picture. It's fucking entertaining for a million reasons. You've got to take a step down from which ever tall animal you're sitting on and take it for what it is. An amazingly fun mma experience. If you're going to highbrow me and say you don't like X,Y or Z about it then you miss the point and, quite frankly, you're probably a complete cahnt.
Bullet points bitches?
- Sean Carter. Wow. What a crazy bastard. The dude may have gotten rocked more times than Gibraltar but he's got the heart and chin that make me want to watch. Tough bastard with good finishing instincts. One to keep an eye on.
- Linton's probably ready for a shot at the big show I reckon. Maybe if he beats Moran at OMMAC it'll happen. He's a unit as well and there aren't many with his level of top control.
- Max Nunes vs. Iain Martell was a great fight. Props to both guys for stepping up and putting on a decent scrap. Nunes is legit.
- Ben Callum hits like a train. I always knew that but he's not lost any of his power of late. Dude touches anyone on the chin and it's an early night.
- There's a sign by the toaster at the hotel that says "Don't put Croissants in the Toaster" - Wow.
- MVP broke out some Apollo Creed shit again. That guy's insane.
Friday, 27 July 2012
My 9-5 has gone full SS and I'm now forced to railroad these unemployed brigands into a training course that they 1) Don't need 2) Don't want to do and 3) Won't attend.
That's another story for another day though. This week has all been about the countdown to my yearly pilgrimage to Llandudno with my lovely girlfriend. Before I depart though, I thought I'd bullet point you straight in the mouth without so much as a second thought.
- Driving down a motorway to a soundtrack of Outrun, Super Hang On and Sega Rally is both dangerous and enjoyable. Take care kids.
- Cage Warriors was, as I've come to expect, amazingly well organised and it was good to see the usual selection of suspects for chit chat and organised violence.
- Piotr Ptasinski showcased some of the more crisp yet unique striking I've seen for a long time. The fight's here; well done that man.
- Kris Edwards looks like a fucking bundle of fun at 125 lbs. I can see him giving a lot of people headaches down the line.
- Paul Rimmer does indeed look like a cross between Santa Claus and Fedor. It's no wonder there's so many monsters up at Next Generation. Imagine that dude coming down your chimney.
- Speaking of Next Gen; Danny Roberts impressed me more than anyone else on the card with his performance against a very tough Jack Mason. If he continues onwards in this fashion he could easily make the big show and make a lot of noise along the way.
- John Phillips getting kicked in the face and then nodding as if to say, "good shot that," was one the craziest things I've seen in a very long time. That dude ain't wired right.
- Chris Fields walking out to Jailbreak always works. That's timeless. Unlucky to come up short in that bout as well. I've no doubt he'll bounce back.
Monday, 16 July 2012
406 miles return to be precise but my love of the ritual that is the Sunday all you can eat Chinese fuelled my workmanlike attitude to get to bed at 3am and up at 11am.
I ended up going to the Golden Orient in Stafford, upmarket I know, and I'd definitely recommend it.
Anyhow you're not reading this to hear about my tales of Duck and Hoi Sin pancakes and Black Bean Chicken I imagine. You good people are here for the bullet points right?
- It's been raining a bit ain't it? It's a bid unnerving arriving in a coastal town in a monsoon.
- Good standard of scraps on the semi pro protion of the card. I've come to expect it from Shock n Awe to be honest.
- Martin Avery vs. Damien Weeden was perhaps the most ridiculously entertaining K1 bout I've called in a very long time. Those guys threw down like it was going out of fashion.
- Good to see that guy who shouted at me from Silverback Submissions at Into the Cage not being so vocal. He wasn't happy with the call in the Harry Fox fight in Andover and he's clearly instilled a 'never leave it in the hands of the judges' ethos in his guys. They didn't. They both got finished.
- Luke Killick's a unit. Yet another monster from Gym 01. I bet sparring with that guy's becoming more and more like hard work every day.
- Karl Harrison's elbows from the top were brutal. I was impressed that I didn't get bled on though, considering how close I was to the incident. That cut was nasty btw. Looked like the eye of fucking Sauron.
- Alexei Roberts flash KO'd his way to the title. Impressive. Very impressive. It was a walk off KO as well which is always so much cooler. I'll be the first to say I underestimated that guy. 7-2 and looking better all the time.
- Davey Grant came into hostile territory and took the title against a big favourite in James Pennington. There's no doubt that both guys will go on to bigger and better things but Grant opened a lot of eyes with a performance like that on Pennington's turf.
- Great hospitality and good to work with another commentator for the first time in CWFC's own John Gooden. Worked out very well but you're never quite ready for a man in a bow tie breaking out the term "spitting the lyrics." Good fun.
Monday, 2 July 2012
I should have done this a while back as Fight UK 7 actually took place on June 23rd but a hectic schedule, my quest to complete Super Castlevania 4 on one credit and my growing addiction to French bread got in the way.
Still we're here now and it's nice to be able to recount what was another cracking event put on by the Fight UK team. The welcome was warm as always and the fights, as I've come to expect, were well matched and very enjoyable.
Here's what I learned from watching Fight UK last week:
- Jefferson George is a trooper. Carl Booth laid down the hammer at the end of the second but Jefferson rocked him on the feet and showed some great grappling. Both guys have a great future and a really nice show of respect from George's corner team throughout. That was an awesome fight to call and a tough one to score. A worthy title fight.
- Wez Murch shouting "knee her in the arse" nearly made me fall off my chair laughing. I had some work to pull that back on commentary.
- Saul Rogers is a problem. A legit problem for a lot of people. Brutal ground and pound and some really fluid transitional work against a very tough Martin Sheridan. That guy's got an awful lot of potential and if he keeps travelling to Tristar to train and improving at the rate he has done? The big show surely beckons.
- The best fans I've seen in ages sang the start to this gem and then replaced the next bit with either "Mi-Key Ha-Ven, Shaney Flaherty and, my favourite, T-Rex Tommy for Tom Culhay". That was bad ass.
- Charles Libor's a bit good. Dude should take this shit seriously. People would sit up and take notice.
- Paul Ramos retired after losing a one sided fight to Dean Truman. I've called a few of Paul's fights over the years and I'm glad he's calling it a day on his own terms. He's a nice guy and was GPUK champion for a while. He had some great scraps on Ross's shows and even took out Craig Allen in a bout that I turned into a humerous video.
- Singh's do indeed not tap.
- Max Cotton reminded me of a young Paul Roma without the juiced up mullet. Dude's a specimen and his wrestling's come on quite a way.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
This past weekend I drove down to Andover to work at Into the Cage 6. As far as domestic shows go it's fairly standard but they're moving in the right direction with the matchmaking/presentation.
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Cage Warriors 47 was the most intense show I have ever worked in my entire life.
It was my seventh show for Cage Warriors and before I got there I was faced with arguably the shortest flight on record.
The event took place in Dublin and as soon as I was afforded the opportunity on the plane, I put on my headphones and my Ipod picked me Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The song finished and as it did I saw a shape enter my peripheral vision. It was the stewardess telling me to take my headphones off as we were preparing to land. I've had good cups of tea that last longer than that flight but I'm certainly not complaining you understand. It made a nice change.
We got to the hotel, which was nice in an understated kind of way, and found out we'd be staying in an adjacent house because there was a wedding this weekend at the hotel.
It'd be Dean, Rich, Tony and myself which, as it happened, was a perfect cocktail for tea, trash talking, the occasional coffee for Dean and all kinds of merriment.
The fight night came round fast and as soon as the first bout started I could sense something different. The crowd, although still growing, was gloriously vocal and I truly wasn't prepared for what was to come.
David Bielkheden vs. Cathal Pendred was almost like a fight from a karate film with how back and forth and fully crazy it turned out to be. Rosi Sexton vs. Aisling Daly somehow followed it with an equal level of intensity but when Conor McGregor walked out I honestly thought something off the charts was going to happen.
Dave Hill fought very valiantly but McGregor's 209 antics and aggression were a little too much for him to take and he soon was forced to tap to a tight rear naked choke.
Then this happened.
|Photo by Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors|
This wouldn't be a weekend recap however, without a bullet point list and a niche videogame link so here's both for you good people.
- The mental game is so overlooked by some people in mma but I'm fast realising that it's probably the most important part of the whole puzzle somehow. It's like having a 1000bhp engine but no clutch. You can't translate that power and ability into anything without it.
- If you're all about The Young Ones metaphor in that house then I think I was Rick Mayall, Dean was Vivian, Tony was Neil and Rich was Mike.
- Train rides are really underrated somehow. If they weren't so expensive I'd do more of them.
- I started reading my dad's book last night briefly. I really hope I've got that in me somewhere.
- UN Squadron with anyone apart from Greg Gates is unfeasibly hard.
- Conor McGregor has star potential. You meet some fighters and they've got that star quality and the stuff they do in the cage doesn't seem forced. He'll be huge, I can guarantee it.
As a kid growing up the noisiest machine in any arcade was the Sonic Blastman machine. You'd get crowds of would be tough guys surrounding it trying to hit that pad to get the biggest score, or headbutt it which I saw once, to impress whoever was watching. There was a special noise that surrounded that machine. It was crystal clear yet ear splittingly loud.
This Saturday when Cathal Pendred got up after David Bielkheden nearly knocked him out in the third round; my whole body shook as the Helix exploded into a crescendo of noise. It was like a tsunami of sound sweeping over me somehow.
It's hard to find the words sometimes to express how all of this adventure feels but I guess if I was to break the golden rule and end on a quote then I'd like to think this one sums it all up perfectly.
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”- Jack Kerouac
Monday, 28 May 2012
Last week's crazy schedule went something like this.
Tue: Work - Fly to Abu Dhabi
Wed: Fly to Bahrain, Arrive 9am
Thurs: Judge Cage Warriors
Fri: Fly to Abu Dhabi
Sat: Fly to Manchester, Arrive 7am, Drive to London, Call UCMMA 28.
Sun: Drive to Star City. Win Teddy Bear on grabbing machine for Alison.
The best part is that, this weekend, I get to go on another Cage Warriors adventure as I fly to Ireland to judge yet another stacked card but, without any further delay, lets bullet point this bitch.
Cage Warriors Fight Night 6 - Bahrain - Thursday 24th May
- Most obvious but yet endearing comment of the trip? "It's hot here isn't it." It's in a desert, in a heatwave at 1pm. Yeah it's hot.
- Jesse Taylor looked like one of the biggest welterweights I've ever seen. Grimaud did very well to survive and even more well to get the win.
- Eddy Bengtsson's submission looked like a flattened out version of the Coconut Crush, 2:35 on that video, from where I was sitting.
- If you don't know who you're going to be rooming with. Always open up with an offer of a cup of tea. It's usually always plain sailing after that.
- On that note a big shout out to Rich Mitchell who cracked me up throughout the trip. The dude's good people.
- John Phillips via Triangle? You would have had my fucking house on that one.
- Makunga Bunduku, although a beast, needs to drop that John Cena nonsense. Not to say I wasn't impressed though.
- Jake Bostwick may very well have some of the most clubbing knockout power I've ever seen. Last two times I've seen him he's flatlined someone.
- Ben Callum and Luke Barnatt are both big show material. I'll be very surprised if you don't see a lot more of them in the future.
- Very exciting night of fights throughout. Great work from the UCMMA team who, as always, made Alison and myself very welcome.
- Tony Giles may well have knockout power but the dude wants no part of Louis King stood up. Nobody does. That's a fact, Jack.
- Danny Lawson vs. Brendon Katz was a cracking scrap. My fight of the night I think.
Seriously watch UCMMA this Wednesday. Watch Galore Bofando's fight and then tell me if you've ever seen anything like it before. The dude has some of the craziest agility, flexibility and balance I've EVER seen. I promise you that you'll be in awe. That dude ain't human.
I'm off to play some Super Hang On but I'll no doubt be in touch very soon.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Another two shows this past weekend as 300 miles, a load of debates about Hendo's H Bomb, a tasty muffin and some great fights happened in a very short stretch.
Night of the Gladiators 11 - Saturday 21st April - Hanley
- Short on fights but big on entertainment. Good wins for the lads from UTC, Next Gen and Team Colosseum. Nice to see the bigger gyms making the trek to Stoke.
- Dean Garnett proved once again that, with good wrestling, you can set anything up you want to.It's bread and butter and it contributed to a great victory for Garnett above his natural weight class. Those elbows looked brutal.
- On that note I'm sorry for constantly saying Garett in commentary. Fuck those fliers.
- Noisy fans were well behaved. Good stuff.
- Ant Bailey does indeed look like a marginally more portly BJ Penn. Good scrap though to beat that specimen that Team Colosseum bought down.
- It's nice finishing an mma show and walking home. Simple things :)
- Chokes you can tough out. Long drives home you can tough out. A heel hook you shouldn't try and tough out. Seriously that was some ligament stretching nonsense.
- Marco Antonio's KO punch was one of the most inadvertently funny shots I've ever seen. It was a textbook right and there was something golden about how his opponent sprung up full of life and energy to be sat right down.
- Mounted Triangle victory in Semi Pro No Headshots? Clever, very clever.
- Good friends and good conversation make a long drive seem very short.
- Mark Handley's leopard print thong LMFAO entrance was pretty sick. It was the way he had to walk down stairs to get to the cage that made it a bit surreal though. He looked like he'd just got out the bathroom.
- If a guy hits you with three straight left hooks, odds are he'll try a fourth.
It's simply not because I'm trying to one-credit it at the minute it's simply the fact that this weekend reminded me that, at any level of the game, wrestling is so overpowered.
If basic mma skills were Street Fighter characters:
Stand Up - Zangief - Deadly in the right hands but can appear very laboured.
BJJ - Guile - Originally the best but the years haven't been kind.
Wrestling - Ryu - There are practically no situations that you can't inflict pain in or set up something brutal.
A good Ryu will beat a good Guile or a good Zangief any day of the week.
Also I bought some chinos and a cardigan today so I'm pretty sure I've turned into a bad guy from a 1980's martial arts film.
On that note it's time to hit the hay
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Another double header this time as a break in this pretty crazy schedule affords me the time to record a hectic few weeks.
The Cage Warriors trip home was suitably titanic as I got a coach, two planes, two trains and then walked a mile and a half to my front door. I slept for 13.5 hours on Friday night though so I think I'm over it now.
April 7th - UCMMA 27
Down to London for some UCMMA goodness a few Saturdays back and a card that wasn't rammed full of huge names ended up being one of the most exciting events I've seen for a long time.
- Easy night for the judges huh? Some huge finishes and massive knockouts which is always good for the fans
- Max Nunes needs a big fight. That guy could be the next big UK guy at LHW. He's got all the tools for sure.
- If you walk out to the Pride music then you have to realise the implications. You better go like Wandy when the bell rings.
- Bola Omoyele is indeed for real. The winner of Facey vs. Bostwick needs to step up to that man.
- Arnold Allen may need some kind of Unleash the New Allen video.
- Hotelling it was pretty sweet as well and driving down and driving home at a regular speed was both financially rewarding and quite relaxing.
April 12th - Cage Warriors Fight Night 5
Off to Amman, Jordan this week to judge for Cage Warriors as Fight Night 5 took to the airwaves on MMAJunkie.com with an immensely deep card. It was, once again, a pleasure and an honour to judge such amazing bouts.
- I really could mooch in hotel receptions for a living. Every night I planned to go to bed at a reasonable hour and every night I ended up chilling out till 4 am drinking tea on those comfortable sofas and hanging out. Awesomes.
- Pavel Kusch is a bad man. They real do breed em tough out there in the Ukraine. Sick leg locks.
- There was some real pro wrestling style heat between DJ Linderman and Mike Hayes. A serious simmering four horsemen style promo incoming I think.
- Liam James has a block of concrete for a head. I've not seen anyone take shots like that before and continue to come forward undaunted.
- Business class on a small plane means a free cake and a cup of tea. This was immense.
- Refs don't get enough credit when they do something right. Another solid night in charge by Neil Hall and Rich Mitchell.
- Another good showing for the GYM01 savages. Brum looked like a mini Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap and brutalized his foe throughout while Mike Ling dropped some nasty looking elbows from the top. I winced when one of them hit as it made a huge noise.
- That Fisherman's platter I had from TGI's in the mall nearly finished me off. Looked like the season finale of Deadliest Catch.
That just about rounds it up for a little while anyhow. I'll be back in the saddle again next week as I do Night of the Gladiators on Saturday and Lockdown FC on Sunday so expect a similar update.
I'd call it Double Dragon 3 but I recall that game being garbage.
Anyhow till next time, take care of yourselves. I'm off to grab some lunch.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Wifi was good, seats were comfortable, Aundre Jacobs tweeted his little heart out and Mick Bower was funny in a way that only Northern types can manage.
If I was still in a band I'd write a record called Norman Paraisy and the Parisian Ghetto or maybe change the band name to that.
The fights were good fun and thanks to everyone who tuned into MMAHQ for the live play by play which chronicles all the fights. Get reading if you've not seen the events yet.
Here's what I noticed watching MMA this week:
- Tom Watson is truly ready for the next level. BAMMA's been a great home for him but he needs to fight world recognised and ranked fighters to progress his career. He's the best British guy outside the big shows right now.
- Patrick Vallee is yet another ridiculously talented French guy with unreal positional grappling. Pancrase may not allow shots on the floor but it's a unique breeding ground for wrestling monsters.
- Gaps between fights aren't as noticeable in a live event when it's warm.
- I've been to a lot of fights with atmosphere but I've never heard anything like Marshman vs. Watson. Intense doesn't even begin to cover it.
- Colin Fletcher's stand up is legit. I didn't think it was. Props.
- Watching drunk fans silenced when their favourite fighter gets beaten is quietly poetic. It's not a fighter's fault how his fans act but if you sell tickets to people who don't understand the sport then something bad usually always happens.
- More people should walk in to music that isn't metal or rap.
Slice and Dice was the bloodiest death move I had ever seen when I first played Mortal Kombat 2. The cut that Jason Jones inflicted on Misiek bled like nothing else I've ever seen. There was literally a jet of blood that squirted a foot into the air more than once. That was some serious Great Muta style juicing.
It's been around three years that I've been writing seriously and the opportunities and experiences that have come about as a result of it have been unreal to say the least.
Anyone who reads this understands how much SNES I play but this week I wandered to WHSmith after a quick game of F-Zero. It was sunny, I had some big sunglasses on and all was well.
I walked into the shop and picked up Fighters Only, in front of a tutting clerk, and opened it up. I've had quite a bit of magazine work published but this prospect was somehow different.
This month's issue featured a column I put together about videogames and mma. You read it right. The second I wrote it I was reminded of the first times I read Gamesmaster magazine and I wondered what it would be like to write at all.
I'm trying to not use the word epic anymore because this generation of kids seem set to do to epic what my generation did to awesome but that's the first word that came to mind.
Please go and buy it.
Then read it all.
Then tell me what you think.
P.S I'm all about trying to full clear F-Zero this week. Mute City 2 is beast.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
I was picked up early this morning from Manchester Airport by my lovely girlfriend after a through the night flight from Abu Dhabi.
Cage Warriors Fight Night 4 in Dubai was a spectacular event with some truly insane finishes. There was just about everything you could wish for from a live show and chilling by the pool, catching some rays and listening to Copeland before the event was pure serenity.
Amazing opportunity once again and, in true North Star fashion, it's time to relive the highlights via the medium of the bullet point.
- Judging is amazing because there's nothing else but the fight. In an arena of screaming fans it's incredible how you hear none of them once the fight starts and the mental scoring calculations begin.
- I knew this show was going to be sick when the hotel porter asked me if Bret Hart was wrestling on the card.
- Sheila Gaff is probably the most dangerous woman I've ever walked past in a buffet. She made double denim look downright deadly and yet in her post fight interview she sounded so unassuming. It's crazy how people have switches like that.
- Assan Njie is the real deal. Another CW guy you'll probably see graduating to the big show within too long. Way, way too talented.
- It's cheaper in Dubai than you'd think. It was only 80p for a Toblerone and 9 quid for a pair of Randy Savage looking sunglasses.
- Watching a film about a bacterial disease epidemic on a crowded plane is one of the stupidest things I've done in a while.
- I played a shit load of Sunset Riders on my DS emulated to a SNES. Loads harder than I remember.
Why Tank Command?
That game was brutal.
Tanks are brutal.
Sheila "The German Tank" Gaff is brutal
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
I woke up nice and early and drove up to Active Fitness in Holmes Chapel to teach a circuit training class that was all kinds of fun.
Drove home, went shopping, went for something to eat, walked home in the sun and then fell asleep under a Hello Kitty blanket.
This sleepiness and general good feeling was bought on by another great mma show that it was my pleasure to work on the night before.
Shock and Awe 10 was another great show by the south coast promotion and like last time, I was blown away with how many amazing fighters there were representing the lower weight categories and the professionalism and hospitality of the outfit.
My official report of the evening is here but, in true North Star fashion, it's all about a bullet point breakdown of my unofficial take on the event.
- Niko Gjoka is an absolute monster. It's not often you see someone take those kind of shots and keep fighting through it to take the win. Owen Gayle looked a savage at flyweight, props to both guys. My fight of the night.
- I saw someone get elbowed clean in the forehead about a foot away from the commentary table and the guy didn't even bat an eyelid. Seriously. What's up with you people?
- Hospitality was, as always, fantastic and I was made to feel very welcome by the team down in Portsmouth in a great venue.
- I get bled on a lot it seems. 3 times in nearly so many events. I only hope Simon Belmont isn't reading this. I'm not game for someone going Castlevania on me.
- The drive was nice and it's a sign that Alison and I are getting good at the mma road trip as she'd prepared sandwiches and all kinds of goodness. I do however, need a travel cup. That was sadly overlooked in this trip.
Also one of the funniest bits of commentary in a while came from my good friend Lloyd Clarkson.
Ben: I'm impressed with this level of transitional grappling. Every submission attempt used to set up superior positions and techniques.
Lloyd: Certainly at this level it's a lot like Chess but with tattoos, punches in the face, blood, submission holds, slams and ground and pound.
Ben: So not at all like Chess then.
Lloyd: No not really.
Why Smash TV?
Simply because I've never seen anyone get hit as many times in the face as James Caird and not quit. One of the most intriguing displays of toughness I've seen in a very long time. A smash up, in every sense of the word.
Cage Warriors on Friday.
Off to Dubai I go.