Monday, October 26, 2009
Harrah's Casino 10-23-09 Fight Overview
On Friday night, my wife Toni and I, were honored to attend the fights at Harrah's Casino in Tunica MS. with Jeff and Jennifer Chambers. I was excited, to say the least, to see Terry Robinson, Jeremy Kilgore, and Goldman Butler fight..... finally. I have such immense respect for these guys and had never been able to see them fight before. They didn't let me down as all three fights were exciting although the outcome was a little different than I had hoped for in two of the three fights.
The only disappointment of the night for me personally came when I found out I could not video the bouts as planned. The gentleman who put the fights together had a production crew there and told me himself that he didn't want anyone filming. The lighting was so dark and foggy that taking a still shot was a challenge since we couldn't use a flash but we did manage to get a few shots. I was told that the fight would be sent to each fighter on dvd so hopefully we can manage some clips at least for you before long.
In the first fight involving TBJJ fighters, Terry Robinson took on Brenden Domingo of Columbia MO. The first thing that came to mind when Brenden walked out was "this is a kid!" but he proved that he was far from it when he and Terry tied up. Terry was very quick on his feet and managed the fight very well. His striking was precise and strong and I think he surprised Domingo with his strength, take down skills and ground game. Brenden did scare us all a little when he had Terry in a very strong choke but somehow Terry managed to leverage his way out of the hold and gain control again to win the fight as he pounded Brenden until the referee stopped the fight. I asked Terry later how it went and he said "That guy was STRONG!" "He had me tight and I was a little worried but I was able to get just the right grip for a split second which allowed me to escape." I can say that Brenden did a fantastic job and was definitely a little stick of dynamite but Terry was able to overcome all obstacles and pull off an enormous win. Congratulations go out in a the biggest way to Terry. He obviously came to win and he did it with style, strength and class.
In the 5th fight of the card, Jeremy Kilgore took on Jesse Beal of Arkansas. Now we were sitting beside some of Jesse's friends and they stated that he was a beast to say the least and that almost all of his amateur fights came by way of knockout as did most of his pro fights. I was on the edge of my seat as one of my mentors walked through the cloud of smoke to face a formidable opponent. I was so proud to know Jeremy that if the fight had never started, I would have been satisfied just to see him walk out there. When Jeremy entered the ring he moved fluidly around the ring and I saw him reach out to Beal and tag gloves in a show of respect and class. When the bell rang, it was obvious that both fighters had a lot of respect for one another and traded shots for a bit. Unfortunately, Jeremy was caught with a good shot and staggered. As he recovered quickly in true Kilgore form, he arose to continue but his position offered an opportunity to Beal and Beal took it, knocking Jeremy out with the second right to the chin. Mrs. Toni and I gasped as Jeremy lay on the floor, not that he was down, but that our hearts broke for him because we know how hard he has worked. As Jeremy arose from the mat, once again, he illustrated why I think Tupelo BJJ is the best gym around. If it had been me, I might have thrown a tantrum or just walked out, but Jeremy, in true Kilgore form, mustered a smile and a congratulatory hug to Beal who was the better warrior on this night. We could tell his heart was heavy but he was a real man about it and made no excuses. I met his wife and saw his mother in the lobby later and they too showed level of class that you rarely see today, neither offering an excuse but only concern for Jeremy. Birds of a feather? I think so. Class and sportsmanship obviously run in this family.
The main event was fight number 9 of the night and featured Goldman Butler and Rocky Overstreet of Auburn, AL. The fight previous, the co-main event, featured Andy Uhrich of Team Vortex (whom I was cheering for) versus Brandon Barger of Columbia, MO. I have to say, it was a blooming brawl! The UFC has nothing on these two. Uhrich finally won the fight but both fighters were bloody worn out messes when the smoke cleared. I didn't think that fight could be topped... I was wrong.
Goldman Butler and I only recently got to know one another to a degree but at first meeting with Goldman, you cannot help but be impressed. Not only with his skill and professionalism but in his overall attitude and outlook on life. Goldman is a man of prinicpal as is Terry, Jeremy, and all the other fighters at TBJJ. But this is a giant of a man in my eyes. Not necessarily in sheer size, but if you are male you understand what I am saying when I say I think Goldman represents what a real man is and and should be.
The physical giant that Goldman met in the ring on this night was Rocky Overstreet. When the guy came into the ring I was amazed at how he towered above the top of the ring at 6.8 feet tall and looked to be as strong as an ox. He had obvious skill as the bell rang to begin the first round and his reach posed a real threat to Goldman. Goldman, true to his nature, never wavered and stayed patient. He stalked Overstreet, slipping and moving to avoid contact from the many jabs and right crosses offered by his opponent. I could see Chris Gates and Mark Romano in that ring in my mind's eye. Slip, move, slip, move. Goldman was doing what he had been trained to do and it was working. Finally he took an open opportunity and closed the gap, pinning Overstreet to the cage and finally taking him down to the dismay of Overstreet's corner. I was fortunate to see the look on Overstreet's face when the first barrage of punches from Goldman landed and opened his face and nose up. It was a look of surprise. I like to think (no disrespect to Mr. Overstreet) that he was thinking "What the heck have I gotten myself into, a meat grinder?" It sure looked that way to me. At the end of the first round there was no doubt that Goldman had won the round but both fighters were visibly tired.
The second round began as the first with the same results. Both men fought like men possessed, testing one another to the edge of oblivion. Well into the 2nd round I thought Goldman had this fight in the bag as he continuously banged out strike after strike and controlled the fight. He had Overstreet against the cage nearest me and I noticed a spark of life in the laboring Overstreet as he shrimped his back to the cage. In a move right out of the movies, he gained control of Goldman's back and in a blink of an eye, Goldman was sprawled with the giant of a man laying squarely on his back. Overstreet was able to muster some strikes that seemed to do no damage but as Goldman later stated, "I just couldn't get him off of me." So as simply as that, the referee stopped the fight and Goldman was faced with a defeat. As the two men helped one another up from the mat, you could see the respect in the eyes of both. Mr. Overstreet stated at the announcement of his victory his respect for Goldman and I know the feeling is mutual.
My heart remained heavy over the weekend, not due to the AGEMA losses but because I knew that faced with the same circumstances, I would pale in comparison to the three men I have come to appreciate so much. Terry, Jeremy and Goldman all possess a quality of manhood that most of us dream of. I received a note from Goldman later that night expressing his remorse in losing the fight, as if he had somehow let me down. So let me say for the record, I am immensely proud of Terry Robinson and I am equally proud of Jeremy and Goldman. Why? Because in a world where we are taught to win at all costs and to step on whoever gets in our way, these MEN put themselves in a position, as do all TBJJ team members and trainers, to not only teach us how to win, but also how to lose. We cannot always win in life even if we put our best efforts forward but we can set a standard so high that others cannot help but be mystified by our stature.
So, to me, TBJJ won a tremendous battle on Friday night. We may not have won every fight, but something in the souls of those watching was stirred. I can only speak for myself when I say I was inspired by the efforts of the team. Seeing Chris Gates, Mark Romano, Cody Floyd, Brian White, Noel McMichael, Jon Price, Jon Crump, and Jeff Chambers of Amory MMA handle themselves in this venue was awe inspiring. This is what team sports is about. These are the men who make MMA a sport for the masses. These MEN are who I want my son and grandsons to look upon as role models.So I want to say "Thank you" to the fighters and trainers and support staff of this event. You all did TBJJ proud and I am honored beyond words to be associated with you in whatever small way I can be. I am proud to call you all my friends and look forward to your next event with great expectations. Lord have mercy, I wouldn't want to be the next guys to meet Jeremy and Goldman in the octagon. LOL