Posts Tagged ‘SoCal’

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report and Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Thirty-seconds earlier, a confident Richard LeRoy awaited the opening bell in the biggest fight of his young career. During the introductions, LeRoy stared across the cage at his opponent before briefly acknowledging his fans. The moment for LeRoy had been a long time coming, and he seemed like he was ready for the challenge.

The thirty-seconds that immediately followed don’t exist for Leroy, because he has no memory of them. “Do you remember what happened?” LeRoy joked. His opponent that night Jalin Turner punched the time clock right on the pause button when he cracked LeRoy so hard and so often, the entire first 3 minutes turned into a blur. As LeRoy covered up on the ground, the thunderous shots echoed. He knew the referee was getting close to stopping the fight, and admittedly that was all he knew. Richard LeRoy still doesn’t remember what happened, but he sensed he was very close to losing everything he had worked so hard to regain. As all these thoughts ran through his head, and the referee approached all he could think was, “Im not fucking going out like this.”

Two years earlier, after a dramatic come from behind knockout win over Brandon Hastings, LeRoy began feeling discomfort in his right shoulder. Hastily he was initially diagnosed with an AC separation. Initially the arm was immobilized and a rehabilitation program would follow to facilitate the healing. Throughout his time off LeRoy kept training the best he could, using only his left arm. After the rehabilitation program was completed, the pain persisted. Following the advice of a friend with connections in the medical field, LeRoy was able to get an MRI which revealed a torn Labrum, an injury that would require immediate surgery and yet another extensive rehabilitation. While on the shelf, LeRoy watched as the promotion he called home crowned their first ever CXF lightweight champion. ” It is just a matter of time.” LeRoy thought to himself.

In a haze and in a heap, LeRoy somehow coherently realized he was about to lose everything he fought so hard to get back. It was that thought alone that inspired him to survive. A momentary reprieve in the assault by Turner would only make the next barrage seem that much more cruel. As again Turner sent LeRoy in search of level footing. Trying to find his equilibrium, LeRoy was rewarded with a nasty knee that again dropped him to the canvas.  Wobbling and in retreat for most of the round, LeRoy cleared the cobwebs and like a cornered dog he began snapping back. “Late in the round at one point, somehow I ended up in mount, and  that is when I really started to get my head clear.” LeRoy said. Finishing the round in top position, LeRoy appeared to have weathered the storm, but that was only the first round and the hell that greeted him 5 minutes earlier was again waiting for another encounter.

As the second round began, again Turner found success with his range, as he began to pepper LeRoy from angles the shorter fighter could only imagine. However this time LeRoy didn’t seem as effected as much as was in the previous round. Relentlessly he pressed forward and soon he began to break-down the range of Turner.  Finding some success on the inside, LeRoy began chopping down his longer opponent, but Turner obliged and kept the violent merry-go-round going. As the moments ticked by, the pendulum of momentum started to swing in LeRoy’s direction. “I remember dropping him with an inside leg kick, and I popped right into mount. I could see he was starting to get tired.” LeRoy said. Continuing his attack until the bell, a confident LeRoy went back to his corner thinking he had won the second. “I though for sure I won the round,” LeRoy said.

Drenched with sweat, referee Mike Beltran was long past exhausted and his normal jovial expression had hit the road sometime in the first round, in its place a stone like expression I’m glad to say I don’t know. The air was thick in the Burbank Marriott ballroom as the third round opened. Again the aggressor, LeRoy kept his foot on the gas. The more he pressed, the more his opponent began to slow. Late in the third round with Turner starting to fade, Leroy found himself in the top position. Sensing the end LeRoy looked to inspire the finish with some nasty ground and pound, punctuated effectively with elbows in between. The referee again came close, and after a few warnings from urging Turner to defend went unanswered the assault was stopped at 4:18 in the final round. Capping one of the best comebacks ever in the CXF cage.

The win earned LeRoy a spot in the semi final round for the CXF promotions ‘Cali Kings’ tournament. Putting him just one fight away from the title. However the epic war with Turner came at a cost, and due to injuries suffered in the fight LeRoy withdrew from the tournament. “I really wanted that title. When I was injured and I first saw the CXF belt I sort of already considered it mine,” LeRoy said with confidence.

After a three-month layoff that included a trip to Europe, LeRoy is back in the hunt for the CXF title. Standing across the cage this time in a lightweight title-eliminator will be the well-travelled and equally explosive Christian “The Beast” Aguilera. A well-rounded fighter  like LeRoy, Aguilera is an equal opportunity ass kicker. He can knock you into next week with one shot, or he can choke you to sleep. His dangerous skill set and hybrid pedigree is something LeRoy is well aware of; “Christian’s a tough dude, and he looked great in his last fight.” LeRoy said. “He is very good on his feet; a good striker, and he has great jiujitsu as well. The fight is going be a challenge for sure, but I will be ready.”

With the winner of the bout earning an immediate title shot at the conclusion of the ‘Cali Kings’ tournament, LeRoy once again finds himself just a few steps away from the title he coveted for so long.

CXF 10:Fall Brawl will take place November 4th, in Studio City, CA at the world-famous Sportsmen’s Lodge. For tickets go to: www.mmatixx.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

That epic

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“Preserve, within a wild sanctuary, an inaccessible valley of reveries.” -Glasgow

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh and Bob Fisher

Growing up on La Brea between Hollywood and Inglewood, Chase Gibson (4-2 MMA) wandered for much of his youth, pulled between the two worlds his parents separately inhabited. Somewhere in the middle, Gibson began a downward spiral, where he danced with many demons that would ruin most of his teenage years. The story seemed destined for a bad ending, when a mirror image opened a rather odd door to redemption.

That image was both literal and figurative. Cooper Gibson (6-2 MMA), Chase’s identical twin brother ended up finding a path that kept him out of trouble, and soon led him to gaining quite the name in the sport of mixed martial arts. “Cooper cleaned up his life before I did”, Gibson said. “Watching his success in the sport inspired me to start seriously training. “Not surprisingly, like his twin brother, Chase quickly took to the sport as a natural, but then old injuries and old demons came knocking again! “Early on in my training I had some previous injuries that came back, and I sort of used that as an excuse to start messing up again”, Gibson said. Quickly Gibson was able to right the ship, and as soon as the injuries subsided he was back on course.

The long road to redemption for Chase Gibson may have started somewhere near mid city, however oddly enough, he would finally satisfy that search locked in a cage. Facing some rather stiff competition, Gibson cruised through the amateur mixed martial arts ranks with a stellar 5-0 record. Undefeated as an amateur, Gibson made his pro debut and true to form he continued hs winning ways, finishing his opponent in the very first round by rear-naked choke. At this point Chase Gibson appeared to be on cruise control, but then the wheels fell off.

First a split decision loss to Andrew Natividad under the King of the Cage banner spoiled his undefeated streak, then a razor thin unanimous decision loss to Derion Chapman followed. Gibson quickly found himself on the wrong side of .500 for the first time in his career. “That was a tough place to be”, Gibson said. “Especially since I think I won both of those fights.” As unfamiliar as losing was, it certainly was not enough to let those demons back in. “It was a very rough time, but as rough as it was at no point in time did I say f&ck it! I just got back in the gym, and made some adjustments”.

One of those adjustments was learning how to cut weight properly. After the two losses, Gibson noticed a weakness in his game that he correlated to his weight cutting procedures. So he fixed the wheel. “I actually sought out people who do this for a living, and it turns out I was doing it all wrong” Gibson said. The results were obvious.

In his first bout under the CXF banner, Gibson needed only 1:05 seconds to lock up a Brabo choke over a very tough AJ Bryant. In his next bout Gibson picked up perhaps his most notorious win, when he knocked out Far Mohammed with a highlight reel head kick that quickly went viral on the internet. In his next bout Gibson outworked a very game Adam Calderon cruising to a unanimous decision victory.

The impressive win streak has earned Gibson a seat at perhaps the most prestigious table of his career. Standing across from him will be a very violent Serob Minasyan (6-8 MMA), between them the CXF Featherweight Title will await the winner. With so much at stake you can bet the CMMA team and Chase Gibson have been doing their homework. “He’s a tough strong wrestler”, Gibson said. “He has a decent shot, and he throws heavy, but I don’t think he has ever fought anyone like me.”

Even though a title hangs in the balance, for Gibson there is a lot more at stake than a shiny gold belt. Recently married, Gibson also found out he will soon be a father. “We found on my birthday.” Gibson said. With a child on the way, the win means more than any other before. And although it may add some anxiety, that uncertainty gets crushed by the motivation to feed his family.

For Chase Gibson, a win and a CXF title would certainly bring him some validation. “I think CXF is one of the best regional shows in the country by far, the challenges they put up are amazing, they have some great fighters here, and a win really means something.” However it would also go a long way to justify the faith this young man has put in himself.

Redemption can be quite elusive for the lost. Constantly searching to find yourself can often lead down a very dark path. The luckiest of us emerge in the light on the other side. Finding the path to the light is never guaranteed, and what works for some may not for others. For years Chase Gibson chased his redemption, only when he stopped running did he find it within.

The History Making Liver Kick

The History Making Liver Kick

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Spar Star MMA Thanksgiving edition was another well balanced mixed martial arts event featuring some of Southern California’s top young talent. Mel Valenzuela carefully crafted an intricate fight card that show cased some of the best gyms in the area. Tapout LA, 10th Planet, DogPound MMA, BJMUTA, Systems Training Center, NZT MMA, The Sweat Shop, and Chad George’s new CMMA are just a few of the teams that were represented.

Farren Romero made MMA history when she captured the inaugural Spar Star MMA Bantamweight title, after she was able to fell a very tough Danielle Mack with a cirrhosis endusing liver kick. Mack did her best to retreat and recover, but her efforts only fueled Romero’s advance as she flurried with straight punches that went unanswered. After the volume of strikes continued from Romero, the referee stepped in to save her from further damage. The victory for Romero was certainly sweet, however each title carries with it a target. With a cadre of young hungry fighters coming through the amateur ranks, Romero will have to continue to improve is she hopes to retain that new shiny belt!

In the evenings co-main event, Tapout LA’s Daniel Rodriguez took on Hayastan/Defiant Gym’s Hakob Ter Petrosyan. Petrosyan looked to establish his range early on however Rodriguez had other plans. A nice left hand from instigated a lazy take-down attempt from Petrosyan that was stuffed easily. Once Rodriguez cleared the legs the ground and pound came raining down. After a few more unanswered shots referee Frank Trigg stepped in to call a halt to the bout. Rodriguez maintains his unblemished record (6-0) as an amateur and is looking to hopefully parlay this latest win into a shot for a pro contract.

Rodriguez like the rest of the Spar Star roster of amateurs are certainly in the right spot. Just a over a year ago Systems Training Center’s Albert Morales captured Spar Star gold, now after completing his amateur career Morales is set to make his debut on one of the grandest of stages. Morales will be fighting for Bellator MMA in January against fellow Spar Star MMA Champion Fabian Gonzalez. Gonzalez and Morales are just the latest Spar Star Alumni to make graduate to the next level. They now join Ron Henderson and Jonathan Santa Maria as the latest fighters to make the leap from the local So Cal fight scene.

Spar Star is more than just a promotion. Or maybe they just properly define the term. Simply put Spar Star MMA promotes fighters. If you can do well in their cage, odds are you will do well in any cage. Promoter Tony Padilla has created a juggernaut, a snowball rolling downhill gathering steam, soaking up talent and spitting out stars. The Morales, Henderson, Santa Maria, and Gonzalez signings to Bellator are a direct result of his work. In other words, as a promoter, he promotes. Not just his show, or his brand but the fighters themselves as well. And not only when they fall under his umbrella, even after the a fighter has outgrown the Spar Star playground, Padilla stay invested. Padilla says it best himself when he says “Spar Star is a family!” As the head of that family, nothing gives the father more pride than seeing his children succeed!

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PRESS RELEASE: 6/20/2014
Spar Star MMA: Mixed Martial Arts Promotion

For Immediate Release:
Spar Star MMA has long been one of Southern California’s best MMA promotions. Since 2008, Owner Tony Padilla has been hosting both pro and amateur fights featuring some of the regions most notable names such as: Jay Silva (Bellator and UFC vet), Sevak Megakian (TUF contestant), Mario Navarro (Bellator), Karim Ghazi (Formerly Chris Saunders: TUF contestant and UFC vet), and most notably Ashlee Evans-Smith (WSOF, CFA) who is now 2-0 as a professional and will soon be carving her way through the World Series of Fighting ranks.

Although now fighting in one of the worlds biggest promotions, and on national television, Smith still thinks back to her days as an amateur…”These amateur shows, especially Spar Star are a great way for fighters to get wet behind the ears.” Smith said “Tony’s shows always have a professional feel, with a fun family environment.” Smith said. Ashlee Evans-Smith will face Marcia Allen (3-1) on 6/21/14. Smith will be fighting on the undercard, and will be looking to make another statement after her crushing win over transgender fighter Fallon Fox earlier in the year!

Smith will most certainly be in attendance for the Aug 9th show as Spar Star MMA returns once again to The Hollywood Park Casino. The crowd is always filled with MMA royalty such as: Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Famer, Current Bellator MMA fighter Tito Ortiz, Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Current Bellator Fighter Cheick Kongo, Bellator veteran Hector ‘Sick Dog’ Ramirez, UFC Fighter Michael Bisping. and many more.

Spar Star MMA always relies on the regions top MMA gyms which enables matchmaker Mel Valenzuela to pick from a talent pool that maybe one of the sports deepest, globally. California is still the world capital MMA. If you were at the last event you know, if you werent, by now you have heard. Spectacular fights were highlighted by a once in a lifetime intimate concert with Hip Hop Legend Dub C.

On August 9th, the ball continues to roll. With some of the best local gyms such as: Tapout LA, Systems Training Centers, UFC Gyms, 10th Planet Jujitsu, Team PKG, Dynamix MMA, The Body Shop, Blackhouse MMA, Kings MMA, Werdum Combat Team, DogPound MMA, Sweat Shop MMA,HBUTC MMA, NZT Pankration, and many others all ready to send some of their best fighters, the night will be filled with crushing body shots, and I.Q. changing head kicks.

As Spar Star MMA continues to gain momentum, keep an eye out for us in wonderful state of Texas! We are currently in works to put on events in several cities including Corpus Christi E Paso, and San Padre Island. We will continue to provide live streams of the events so you will be able to watch from the comfort of your home.This also gives us the opportunity to add television sponsors! Currently we are also in negotiation with a promotion in Australia as well! So hopefully soon, we can bring our brand of MMA down under!

While we continue to grow, and look forward to bringing our brand global, we still understand that Southern California is our home. We will continue to grow locally as well. Please stay tuned for Spar Star: “The Smoker Series”, as we return to the grass roots of MMA in a way that only that Spar Star can!

Make sure you get your tickets for the August 9th show way ahead of time, we have sold out 3 consecutive events, so get your ticket now!

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