Archive for December, 2013

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Competition in its most basic form, exists simply, well,  because!  The desire to compete  does not require victory, or even decisions. As humans, it can’t be denied that in our nature is a fundamental desire too compete. Woven into the fabric of our being is the need to test our own skills against that of another.

Mixed martial arts offers a very pure form of competition that can satisfy that urge on a very raw, and basic level. Although it is cliche to compare fighting too warfare, as Josh Barnett once said, mixed martial arts is a ‘watered down’ version of combat. And although some people fight for the glory of having there hands raised, others find solace in competition alone.

Like fighters, soldiers are a different breed. They possess a different mind set, and the experience of warfare has offered some of them life lessons most of us cannot even imagine. The daily discipline, and regiment based life is not for everyone, and in many ways the daily goal based regimen resembles the training of a fighter in many ways.

At Fight Club 29 in 29 Palms California, head trainer Mark Geletko formed a fight team made up entirely of military members, mostly Marines and their immediate family members. Geletko, a  former  kick boxer with a strong boxing background first started the team as a way to stay in shape. “I started Fight Club 29 in 2005, when I first got returned from Iraq” Geletko said. Since then, the gym has seen a constant rotation of young men and woman, who are all at different stages of their military careers.

The reasons vary for those who choose to train at Fight Club  29 vary. “A lot of us, just need to stay busy!” Geletko said. “As military personnel, we all tend to be ‘Alpha’ personalities, but we are also very much team oriented.” Others train simply because they love to compete. “Fighting is a high level of competition, and a lot of these guys are just looking for the next challenge!” Galetko said.

Three fighters from the team are actually competing on January 4th at The Agua Caliente Casino, under the “Up and Comers” or “UPC” banner. Promoter Jason Weiner has been a constant friend to the Fight Club 29 Team, and is giving three of Galetko’s fighters an opportunity too shine on a grand scale. “Our guys love fighting for Jason, especially at Agua Caliente, they have huge dressing rooms, and always treat the fighters really well.”

Fighting on January 4th, are: Kyle Stewart 170 lbs  (4-1) who has completed 3 tours of duty, Justin Robinson Heavyweight (3-2) who is a fireman at 29 Palms and is also the current BATCH Fights Heavyweight Boxing Champion, and Omar Romero 185 lbs (3-0) who served in Iraq, and is a Purple Heart recipient. Ryan Donnelly (3-0) is not on the card, but is an Afghan vet who will be fighting for Cali Cage Wars.

“Currently we have about 12 guys, 8 are fighting in MMA.” Geletko said. “We even have one woman fighting for us, Kathryn Proudfoot (1-0) as a boxer.” Unfortunately, the military’s ever changing schedule only has each fighter averaging about 2 years of training, before they move on, or get out of the military. Its a transit fight club, but one that serves a very important purpose.

Unfortunately, recent military cuts have left the Fight Club 29 to rely on private donations. Currently companies like Oscar Mike, Dethrone Royalty, Bad Boy, and Ecko have helped out with clothing, but our soldiers deserve a lot more. For those interested in helping Fight Club 29 with either Gear, Equipment, or Financial support please contact MGeletko@yahoo.com.

UPC 18 will be taking place on January 4th. The card will feature 2 World Title fights, and Top MMA Prospects Chris Honeycutt, Steve Swanson, Everett Cummings, and Jaime Sierra will all be in action at The Agua Caliente Casino here is the link for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/552369111513557/

UPC-18-MMA-Poster

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By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

When you see Lewis Gonzalez (9-0 MMA, 1-0 WSOF) for the first time in person, after watching him fight its almost as if you are meeting a completely different person. Inside the cage, he is a physical specimen with an incredible wrestling pedigree, that is complimented well by a very aggressive ‘in your face’ style of fighting. His demeanor outside the cage however is quite different. With a boyish innocence, and a earthy smile its easy too like Gonzalez, unless of course you have to fight him.

Undefeated mostly at the regional level, Gonzalez is somewhat unique. Most fighters at this point in his career have bloated records against marginal competition. But with impressive wins over Bellator prospect Justin Baseman early in his career and UFC Veteran Antonio McKee at his WSOF debut, Gonzalez is seasoned beyond years would appear.

So, when JZ Cavalcante fell out his scheduled title fight against Justin Gaethje (10-0 MMA 2-0 WSOF) due too injury, Gonzalez became the logical replacement. When the call came, it didn’t take long for Gonzalez to decide. “I was on my way to wrestling practice, when my manager Dave Hirschbein called!”  Gonzalez said. “And although the nerves will be up for this fight, once you make contact, the nerves disappear and it will be a fight like every other!”

His opponent Gaethje is regarded by many as the crown jewel prospect in the WSOF roster, and Gonzalez understands why. “He goes for it in every fight!” Gonzalez said. “He is a tough fighter, that is for sure!” However, although he finds Gaethje entertaining, he doesn’t seem worried about his striking. “I’m gonna be right in his face the whole time.” Gonzalez said.

In his last fight against McKee, Gonzalez was able to smother one of the most notorious grinders in the history of MMA. Although the fight ended prematurely (Technical decision low blow),  the fight was never in question. Many thought the win was a huge upset, however Gonzalez was disappointed. “I wanted too finish, but It ended the way it did…in the end, I had to out grind The Grinder.”

Now, Gonzalez is faced with his toughest competition too date. In Gaethje he faces another young, undefeated fighter, who is hungry to win his first  world title. Gaethje is a heavy handed wrestler who may not be technical in all aspects of the game, but he is dangerous in every position, something Gonzalez understands quite well. “He is a dangerous guy, he throws heavy hands, and he is a wrestler like I am!” Gonzalez said. “However, he has a tendency to get caught out of position, and when he does he leaves himself open!”

Those openings will definitely be the focus for his team as he prepares for this fight.  Gonzalez is currently part of the Nor-Cal MMAGOLD stable, and also trains at the Delhi Boxing Club that according to Gonzalez is the key to his success. “My manager brings in top guys to train with, and puts me up when I travel, so I am able to get a good mix of training.” Gonzalez said.  “Its awesome having a team with over 20 guys that never miss practice.”

Heading into the January 18th bout as the underdog is not something that bothers Gonzalez. ” I was the underdog in the McKee fight, I’ve been the underdog most of my career.” Gonzalez said. “I don’t mind being the underdog!”

Lewis Gonzalez is Sponsored By: Gamma Labs, Blood Happens, RBP, WAR Athletic, West Coast Nutrition, Jaco Athletic, 86 Athletics, APEX Solutions, MMAPINK and Lexani. You can follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LewisGonzalez9

Lewis is part of MMAGold Fight Team:  http://mmagold.com/

And trains primarily at The Delhi Boxing Club, in Delhi California.

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The popularity of the UFC has crept into the mainstream, and given birth to a whole new generation of fighters that cut their teeth on the local scene. For these fighters, the ‘steel sharpens steel’ mentality has created the need for amateur competitions to showcase and test the skills learned.

These “local” shows have the look and feel of the old school smokers, however with CAMO watching closely, the fights and fighters are regulated and safety is always the number one concern.

Spar Star MMA has been consistently putting on amazing fights at the amateur level, and for this event they teamed with Tapout LA Gym to exhibit some of the best young fighters in the area. This night continued that trend. With promoters like Tony Padilla (T Bone Steakz), and gyms like Tapout, the amateur MMA scene  in Southern California has a bright future!

Below is a photo gallery of some of the evenings fights. In between each fight were several ’round robin’ jujitsu exhibitions that gave several young athletes the opportunity to highlight their individual art.

Sevak Magakian unable to walk, but still gets the win!

Sevak Magakian unable to walk, but still gets the win!

By:Jonathan King The Clinch Report
Photos By:John Walsh The Clinch Report

What makes a great mixed martial artist? If you were to create a sort of MMA ‘Frankenstein’ what characteristics would you start with? The myriad of skills that make up a fighter can be debated for ages, as to which is the most important. However, there is only one that cannot be taught: Determination.

There have been many instances where a fighter has simply refused to loose, despite injury or adversity. Team Hayastan fighter Sevak Magakian (13-4 MMA) is the latest artist to enter that pantheon of gritty, scrappers that make this sport such an enjoyment to watch.

Early in his fight with TUF Alumni Chris Saunders (10-6 MMA) at ‘Chaos in The Casino’ at Hollywood Park Casino, it became apparent that Magakian suffered a devastating leg injury. Later on the extent of the injury was revealed to be a dislocated ankle, and a broken leg! Not only was he able to finish the round, but with a double leg take down, and his counter strikes, Magakian was able to win the frame.

Once in his corner, a look of concern washed over everyone in the corner. Magakian told his coach Gokor Chivichyan the extent of his injury. However, quitting was not an option. So, into the second round he limped.

Once again Magakian was able to land the cleaner strikes, and again appeared to be building a clear advantage with points. Saunders who began attacking the injured leg, for some reason relented his assault, and ended up playing right into Magakian’s game plan.

Once the third round began, Saunders appeared to be in desperation mode, but a foot injury also hampered his efforts. Magakian was able to cruise to a unanimous decision victory, in a fight that will be remembered by all who watched as one of the most incredible displays of courage ever witnessed inside of a cage.

Unlike the cliche states, not every ‘win is a win’! In this case,  a win defines much more than a number in a column. In this case ‘the win’ represents the best in people. Magakian has a bright future ahead, one that will certainly place him on a larger stage, however this fight maybe the one that defines him best.

Lights Out Promotions also featured several Muay Thai and Boxing fights that evening as well, making it an all round combat sports card. Please check out the photo gallery bellow.

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