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Mixed Martial Arts Event Packs A Wallop

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Mixed martial arts event packs a wallop

Mon Aug 03, 2009, 10:29 AM EDT-Matt Mulligan Gate House Media

Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium was the site for the largest mixed martial arts event in New England history, when Cage Fighting Xtreme held the “Battle Under the Stars” Saturday night.
An estimated 7,000 to 8,000 fans were treated to nearly 20 fights, a fireworks display, and a “storybook” ending to one of the most inspirational stories imaginable: Brockton native Mark Chaupetta’s: “A Father’s Fight.”
And CFX promoter Linda Shields — the first female MMA promoter in New England — reaped the rewards.
“I can’t believe we covered all the bases,” Shields said, as the fights took place inside the baseball stadium. “We had 17 vendors, and there were more we had to roll over to the next event. We had the Marciano fundraiser, Vinnie Pazienza’s book signing, the Mark Chaupetta fight, fireworks, a live band (Diecast). Where else are you going to get all that?”
In perhaps the most highly anticipated fight of the night, 40-year-old Mark Chaupetta prevailed via opening-round guillotine submission over Joe Kavy. Chaupetta, the founder of T.E.A.M., a non-profit organization designed to fund research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, is the father of twin 14-year-old sons who suffer from the disease. All of Chaupetta’s fight proceeds were donated to his foundation, and an accompanying auction raised funds for the cause as well.
“The fight went to a “t,” Chaupetta said. “Almost in the exact time frame my coach Mike Varner expected. He had more confidence in me than I did.”
Despite that confidence being proved justifiable, Chaupetta says his fighting days are now behind him.
“I’m retired,” he said. “For my film (documentary: “A Father’s Fight”), this was a storybook ending. And the sport is very risky injury-wise. I have two boys who need their dad. But I’m going to keep training, because it’s done wonders for me. And congratulations to (Kavy), he did a great job — he even donated some of his purse to my charity. And seeing my sons out in the crowd pumping their fists, that’s one of the best feelings.”
Chaupetta’s fight was just one of numerous action-packed bouts, as dozens of mixed martial artists had the opportunity to perform on the grandest stage New England has yet had to offer.
But unfortunately, Taunton native Greg Mendes was not among them.
“During the pre-fight physical, the doctor said, ‘You might not be fighting tonight,’” Mendes said. “I said, ‘Don’t tell me my opponent didn’t show,’ but he said (my opponent) had high-blood pressure.”
And for Mendes, whose previous bout was cancelled following a no-show, it was yet another letdown.
“I was pretty frustrated,” Mendes said. “But actually some of my training partners were surprised I wasn’t as angry as I should be. But I’ve got two teenage kids to raise and two businesses to run; this is the least of my worries.
Mendes’ frustration was compounded by the amount of effort he had put into preparation for the bout.
“It’s time away from my kids, my friends, my classes,” Mendes said. I was training (hard). Cutting weight, not eating, getting in the sauna. And my family — it’s not that I’m miserable before fights, but I’m not happy. But the CFX is one of the best promotions around, and one of the most professionally run, I just hope they continue to re-evaluate.”
CFX matchmaker Gary Forman agreed.
“I completely understand, it’s very frustrating,” Forman said. “The hours at the gym away from your family, cutting weight. And we love Greg, he’s part of our family. I consider him a friend. But sometimes, it’s part of the game.”
Forman cited fighter safety as being paramount in the CFX, but also feels there is no room in the promotion for unreliable fighters.
“It’s disrespectful not showing up for a fight,” Forman said. “And we don’t want to use guys like that. One thing the fighters have is such a camaraderie. Even after slugging it out, they’ll get a drink together after the fight.”
The high level of competition at “The Battle Under the Stars” underscores Forman’s progressing abilities as a matchmaker.
“I hope we grow and mature as an organization,” Forman said. “And I’ll grow and mature as a matchmaker. Just because a fight is evenly matched on paper, doesn’t mean that it will be a good fight. Our number one thing is fighter safety, but right behind that is the experience for the fans. Other promoters put on good fights, not a good show. And it’s because of Linda; she’s able to outwork, outthink, and out hustle (the competition).”
“Battle Under the Stars’ featured 18 total fights, both amateur and professional.
In the night’s opening bout, 150-pound Ethan Truong defeated Frank Stone via rear naked choke at 1:52 of the second round.
Lightweight Dave Irving submitted Andy Robinson with a guillotine 2:31 into the second round.
Heavyweight Greg Armstrong was victorious over Aaron Ames via TKO at 2:35 of the opening stanza.
Lightweight Brandon Douglas won via rear naked choke over Jeff Lyon at the 1:08 mark of round one.
Lightweight Collin Smith secured a TKO victory over A.J. Marigliano
Brockton native Shawn “The Neckbreaker” Baker, at 190 pounds, scored a unanimous decision over Jarrod Menslage.
The most heavily crowd-supported fighter on the card, 180-pound Brockton native Steve Dunn did not disappoint his fans, with a unanimous decision victory over Lionel Young.
“Moose” Abdurakhmanov, 160 pounds, won via rear naked choke 1:15 into the first round.
John Clarke showed impressive submission ability, submitting Robby Roberts at 1:42 of the first with a kimora from the bottom.
Brett O’Teiri won via guillotine over Bob Puntunto 2:30 into the first.
Fireworks kicked off the start of the heavyweight tournament, which will continue at the CFX’s next show on Sept. 12, and culminate in a title fight at the Nov. 7 show.
Bridgewater native and crowd favorite Lee “The Beast” Beane steamrolled to an impressive opening-round TKO victory.
Heavyweight Jason Dolloff won when his opponent suffered a groin pull just over a minute into the contest.
Heavyweight Josh Watson dominated with a 47-second stoppage.
Heavyweight Pat Bennett stormed out to a 33-second TKO victory over Juliano Coutinho.
Following 185-pounders Ross Warriner and Carlos Rivera’s fight ending in a majority draw, the bout went into a 1:00 overtime round, in which Warriner secured a rear naked choke victory.
Two-hundred pounder Shawn Rockwell earned a first round TKO victory over Fernando Rivera.
In what turned out to be the last fight of the night, 185-pound Todd Chattelle got the win after his opponent slipped and suffered an ankle injury just 12 seconds into the bout. This highlighted the event’s one hindrance.
As “Battle Under the Stars” drew to a close, the combination of muggy conditions and inadequate canvas material led to a cancellation of the final three fights following the slip.
“Doing an outdoor show is the biggest risk you could ever take,” Shields said. “And the material for the canvas was different than what we’re used to, but we don’t own the cage. And we don’t fool around with fighter safety. (V.P of operations) Mike Varner, we jokingly call him the ‘MMA police.’ So when the canvas became an issue, we spoke to the fighters and asked them if they wanted to reschedule for the next show. The majority ruled. We follow the rules and regulations and look out for fighters as number one; it’s not worth risking injury to a fighter. And we’ll really address the canvas; it will never happen again.”
But the manner in which the situation was related to fans led to some confusion.
“It was confusing,” Shields said. “But we spoke to the fighters first. That was the most important thing.”
The event’s abbreviation drew some boos, but Shields remains adamant that it was the proper decision, citing fighter protection as essential.
“People booed us because we follow the rules and regulations so stringently,” Shields said. “And they’re not used to it because other promotions are not like that. And for those that booed, shame on them for not respecting the fighter’s safety. That’s why the card says ‘Subject to change.’”
Following one fan’s drunken tirade upon invitation inside the cage from Varner, security was quickly summoned.
“I think Mike was aggravated at his heckling,” Shields said. “And invited him in as more of a joke. But it was probably a bad idea. But I think the security team did exactly what they were supposed to do: they defused the situation and didn’t let it get out of control.”
Inebriated outbursts aside, the “Battle Under the Stars” lived up to the hype and established the CFX as a promotion on the rise.
“At our medicals and weigh-ins, we want an audience,” Shields said. “We want people to see exactly what’s going on. And if there’s an issue with a fighter, they can call me at three o’clock in the morning — and they do. I know every one of my fighters by name. I know their kids, their family, their records. It’s like a team, and if you’re a team player we want you. I think that singles us out.”
Cage Fighting Xtreme’s next event will be held on Sept. 12 at the M-Plex in Mansfield.
For more information on the CFX, visit CageFX.com.

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