From the get go I knew it would be violent. I knew that this new sport was going to be controversial, but had no idea just how far the drama would be taken. A new striking event with all the rules of Muay Thai and MMA stand up that excludes the ground but allows take downs – basically a cross breed of wrestling and Muay Thai. Sounds great! No one knew that it would be sanctioned as an MMA event by the Quebec Commission, with only a gentleman’s agreement to fight on the feet, until they showed up for press and weigh ins. I was disappointed to find out that one of the main events fell off the card; a scheduled bout between Martin Grandmont and Pete Spratt. I’ve got to say, Grandmont either has had some of the worst luck with injuries I’ve ever heard of or still has some seriously cold feet ter the loss to Sam Stout. He seems to drop off a lot of cards last minute lately (TKO, Strikebox, W-1…).
All in all though, besides the general chaos that happened in the main event, everyone adhered to the rules (official and non official) and it turned out to be a spectacularly bright card that was unfortunately eclipsed by the controversial ending. Action packed fights featuring some of Canada’s sharpest strikers saw all but one fight on the under card end by way of KO or TKO. The most technical fight of the night was a 3 round war featuring a young Joe Marchand and crafty Phillip Allaire. At 125 pounds they traded hard kicks, knees, elbows and punches for 15 minutes straight in a great display of Muay Thai. To highlight the rest of the night, 39 year old Eon Shirley made short work of veteran Christopher Hulme in his pro debut on 48 hours notice. Chris Clements used some powerful and brutal kicks to kill the leg of his opponent quickly and set up the head kick to secure the win. Bruno Hoosier landed a vicious body knee to Bob Landry’s sternum to end their heavy weight tilt. In the fight of the night, Guillaume Lamarche and Johan Croes went to war. Fast footwork and elusive head movement kept Lamarche ahead on the score cards until Johan, who has been training in Holland since his loss to Danny Martinez at TKO 33 pulled off a wicked right hand off that floored Lamarche. The onslaught from Croes after that punch was fast and hard, and Lamarche just couldn’t find his legs. The ref rightly called a stop to the fight.
Then to the main event. I am not going to even give you an account from my opinion out of respect for the fighters and Stephan Patry. The main event is well documented. It was entertaining and sad to see at the same time. However, it also ruined the evening for the other althetes that were on the card. Unfortunately their hard work was overshadowed by the controversial finish to the inaugural Strikebox or Titans Fighting event.
Congrats to the promoter, the production team and all the fighters (except two) for putting on a great card! Too bad about the finish…