Do wot, as it ‘appens
“Berminum? Fahkin’ Berminum? ‘Ere, is that up norf or samfin?”
I would never beforehand have expected those cockney sparras of Cage Rage to cross the moat (sorry, ‘M25’ ) and hold one of their main cards outside of London. The NEC was their chosen venue for CR26 on the 10th of May, though, and so I headed on over there alongside The One They Call Trig.
Cage Rage is bloody irritating, in so many ways. I know they started with a small jellied eel stall and built it into the UK’s biggest MMA promotion and all the rest of it, but they’re not what you’d call dignified. While others are trying to persuade the media and public at large that Mixed Martial Arts is a proper sport, they’re making a combat equivalent of the Mitchell & Webb “Watch the football” sketch (and cheers to Trig for that spot-on analogy). “Cagefighting! Watch as these two t’ugs who’ve never met before but somehow have a grudge proceed to pale seven shades of purple out of each other! There will be blood! There will be guts! There will be women! Lots of women! Wearing very little! Dancing girls! Tonight only, in the red corner a gangsta from the mean streets of Brixton and in the blue corner a member of the Russian maffia! He’s gonna hit him! HE’S THROWING A PUNCH! Heavyweights! He’s six foot six and twenty five stone! Watch the fighting! Women! Cagefighting! Blood! Violence! Fighting! FIGHTING! WATCH THE FIGHTIIIIIIING!”
Aaaand it’s fairly tedious. But… well, I like MMA, and that sometimes means having to ignore how it’s presented.
Your results can be found here. There weren’t any all-time classics, but it was a pretty good card overall. The Fight Of The Night for me would have to have been Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett vs Paul Reed. It was a stand up war (as I believe one is obliged to describe this sort of fight), but in spite of the unpleasant rumours that they had an agreement between themselves not to grapple (really, what’s the point of having an MMA fight in that case?) it did hit the floor a few times. Reed really does have a chin of iron, and Picket was unable to finish him despite absolutely hammering him quite a few times.
The individual performance of the night undoubtedly came from Ian “Chawk In The Keeyaje” Freeman. I must admit that I’d tipped Paul Cahoon to knock him out in fairly short order, but the older man managed a Couture/Foreman-esque performance and absolutely dominated. I will henceforth refer to him as Ian Foreman. I hope that one day he will have his own range of grills.
Four locals fought on the card, with West Midlands And Immediate Surrounding Areas managing to go 2-1-1 against Rest Of The World. Harvey Harra beat Gary Kelly by sub from triangle choke in the first round (revenge, of sorts, for Gary’s brother Paul Kelly beating Harvey’s team-mate Paul Taylor at UFC80. Also: all five of Harra’s MMA wins have come when I’ve been in the audience, while all three of his MMA losses have come when I haven’t. This is surely no co-incidence). Chris Rice took a third round TKO victory over the outmatched but tough and thoroughly game Edgelson Lue. As much as I admire Marc Goddard, I was surprised that his rematch against Henrique ‘Chocolate’ Noguiera was ruled a draw (although I was certainly happy that Choco’s negative, stifling work wasn’t rewarded with a win). Ross ‘The Boss’ Mason was alas beaten by Ross Pointon by sub in the first (what madman went and taught him how to do a heelhook? No good will come of this).
A few notes on the crowd: 1) Don’t believe the claim that it was sold out, because it really wasn’t. I’ve been to two Cage Rage cards and they’ve tried this both times. 2) There was some really annoying booing going on. There’s always a bit, obviously, but booing an opponent after your man tapped out? Ludicrous. 3) No notable crowd violence at a big fightsports event in Birmingham. Amazing.
“Ere, wot is the fahkin’ Lambeth Wawk, anyway?”