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A 2003 interview from The Believer magazine with Ashida Kim, who is a ninja. He makes reference to the UFC.

http://www.believermag.com/issues/20030 ... erview_kim

MAY 2003

Ashida Kim


Terms of the $10,000 Challenge:

Challengers must post an appearance bond of $25,000
Challengers will pay travel expenses for Ashida Kim and a party of three to the site of the match
Challenger must provide food and lodging for the party for the duration of the event
Challenger will sign a release absolving Ashida Kim from any liability
in the event the challenger is killed, crippled, or maimed

Ashida Kim is a leader in the Black Dragon Fighting Society, founder of Dojo Press, and author of over thirty ninja instruction books. He also may be a man named Chris Hunter living in Lake Alfred, Florida. In certain circles, this is seen as a problem; certain corners of the Internet are devoted to fierce debates over his actual identity and martial arts credentials. Frank Dux, who claims to have taught Jean-Claude Van Damme the kuji kiri, writes, Ashida Kim is considered a renegade and a threat. Others call him a fake and a charlatan. I, for one, am not even sure what the kuji kiri is.

But the titles speak for themselves:
Secrets of the Ninja. Hands of Death. Forbidden Fighting Techniques. Secrets of the Jade Bedroom. Ninja Way of the Spider. Could I list a few more? Deadly Grip of the Ninja. Cloak of Invisibility. Dancing Ninja Masters. X-Rated Dragon Lady. Infiltration and Assassination Techniques.These are books that demand to be read. I should also mention that the aforementioned Ninja Way of the Spider includes instructions for the Spider Sting Delayed Death Touch. I should also mention that X-Rated Dragon Lady will teach you how to turn having your clothes ripped off into an advantage, but is only available to those eighteen and over. I should also mention that several of these publications are also available as videos and/or e-books.

This interview was conducted over the telephone. It was a Thursday morning, and the sparrows chirped outside my kitchen window, hopping about in their bird world that knew nothing of ninjas. A happier world? Or somehow emptier?

I pondered these questions as I waited for the phone to ring. (Mr. Kim had asked to call me; the true ninja does not own a phone, or at least doesnt give out his number carelessly.)

Eli Horowitz

THE BELIEVER: Youve been trying to set up your own ninja temple, right?

ASHIDA KIM: Were trying to set up a permanent temple. Were trying to get something done with that. We had a guy down in Australia who was going to set us up with some land and then the war came along, and thats been holding us up ever since.

In the final analysis, its the idea of the thiry-sixth Chamber: in the Shaolin Temple there were thirty-five rooms that you trained in and then, when you graduated, you went out into the world and the world was the thirty-sixth Chamber. In that sense, the whole world is your temple and also your body is your temple. Its a symbolic temple, at the very least. If you see it from that point of view, then you dont really need a building.

But we just want a place where we can set up an obstacle course and play war games and stuff.

BLVR: What kind of missions did you go on before you settled on writing and teaching?

AK: There were a couple times when I worked for the government training indigenous personnel. Then they started trying to stiff me on the money. This is the thing: CIA guys are people who say theyre in the CIA. To them, everyone is expendable except themselves. They dont care if you get killed. They give you a message that they want the enemy to have and they let you get captured and tortured and killed, just so the enemy has this phony message. If they can stiff you on the money they will. Theyre just like any corporation in that sense.

BLVR: What about the experiences that led to your book The Amorous Adventures of Ashida Kim?

AK: The Black Dragon Fighting Society had a club up in Maine that we sanctioned as a karate school and we sent a couple of people up there for seminars. They all came back with really bad reports about this place. And so I went up there to check it out, and essentially it was actually a kind of sadistic whorehouse being run under the guise of a karate school. So for instance the girl students, and they were mostly girls, they would be assigned to be the bodyguards for these mysterious guest instructors whose names were never given. And these girls would be assigned to protect themagainst who? I mean, hell, theyre in a karate school. Who are they going to protect them against? But anyway that was part of the scheme. And then, of course, during the course of the evening, these girls would go out to the bar and get laid. And there was a lot of unnecessary brutality and things like that in the school, in the teaching of the various techniques and whatnot.

So I wanted to shut it down, but a bunch of people told me, You cant shut it downonce youre in, youre in, and you dont get thrown out, no matter what you do. Theres a lot of people that have done lots worse than this and are still considered to be members of the club. But I told them, Hey look, I sanctioned this guy. And this guy is running this whorehouse. Hes brutalizing these people. Im not going to tolerate that.

These guys felt like I was not seeing the situation clearly, so they sent me over to South Africa to work in a whorehouse to see it a little bit more clearly.

BLVR: To understand it from the inside?

AK: Exactly. The thing is, what we were doing there was actually helping a lot of people, because at the time there was a lot of turmoil in South Africa. There werent any jobs, and a lot of these girls would have starved to death if we hadnt given them a place to work. And we didnt let anybody take advantage of them. And the people who did try to take advantage of them, we had a good time sorting out.

So, like I said, we had a beneficial operation down there, even if it wasnt necessarily a kosher operation. And I got to meet a bunch of people and train in some interesting stuff down there. I met a guy who was an Indian and he had some interesting techniques.

BLVR: In addition to The Amorous Adventures, youve written about thirty other books. Is there one youre most proud of?

AK: Ninja Mind Control is probably one of the best ones, because its about teaching people to be self-empowered, and thats a lot of what this is all about.

BLVR: That one has more relevance for the common person?

AK: Its more important for people to learn how to relax than it is for them to learn how to sneak up on their enemies and whack them. And in learning how to sneak up on your enemies, learning how to relax is one of the first things you have to do anyway. A good thing to be sharing with people are these techniques of how to heal themselves, and how to find peace and serenity in this world of chaos.

BLVR: So you feel these books are educating people on how to live, not just how to be a ninja?

AK: The idea of all of them is essentially being in harmony with nature and being in harmony with the flow of whats going on, instead of trying to make things happen. Instead of making a wave to swamp the boat, just make a ripple and let the ripple have an effect over a long period of time. The idea of it is to use a small amount of force, if any at all, to maintain or establish or restore a good working order.

BLVR: Is it hard to balance this goodwill and harmony with the realities of the ninja profession, with all the secrecy and violence?

AK: You can do all those things easily. You can sneak into the compound, make your way into the kings chamber and have a chat with him in the middle of the night and make him think its all a dream, and slip back out without being seenif youre in harmony with nature. A lot of people think I spend a lot of time practicing the cross step and sneaking around and throwing all these weapons, but actually theres very little of that. Most of these things can be learned fairly quickly. Then its just a question of where to employ these things.

Sometimes when I go hunting I use techniques of walking silently and staying downwind. When Im in public I use techniques of slipping through the crowd so I dont get held up by a bunch of meaningless people. Its a matter of being able to move in harmony through the chaos, more than a matter of practicing how to sneak up on people. Once you learn the technique its not that hardyou just need the will to carry it out.

BLVR: What are you working on now?

AK: Im always working on a couple of books. The last one I did was a ninja first-aid book, which was essentially how to wake them up after you choke them out. Its kind of like with the Dragon Lady books. I thought the Dragon Lady books were going to be a real hot seller and they just never have been. Its the same thing with this first-aid book.

I like putting these little books together, because its like a crossword puzzle. It keeps me entertained. And then, when you send them out there, theyre like messages in a bottle. You never know who gets them or who sees them or what kind of effect theyre going to have on somebody. I get a few people that question my credentials, I get a few people that challenge me, and I get an equal number of people that write in and say, You know, I read your book and it really hit a chord with me. I really learned something out of it.

BLVR: Do a lot of people read the books and then ask you to send them on a mission?

AK: Yeah. The way we usually handle that is we fall back on You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but you teach him to fish, he feeds himself. What were essentially doing is were giving you the tools so you can defend yourself and then anything else you want to do, thats up to you.

A real spy knows how to make his own moneyhe takes care of himself. James Bond epitomizes this. The guy supports his whole operation by gambling, if you really look at it. Even though hes given all these toys to play with by the British government, his own personal money comes essentially from gambling. And this is the way it is with people in the Black Dragon Fighting Society. Its not a matter of Okay, now youre on the payroll. Its a matter of Okay, now you know how to hurt people, go out and start a payroll. If youre a spy, youre on your own.

BLVR: Could you tell me about the Black Dragon Fighting Society and how you became involved?

AK: The Black Dragon Fighting Society in the United States was founded by Count Dante in the Sixties. I ran into him in 68 in Chicago, when I was up there playing around at the Democratic Convention, thinking I was going to change the world.

BLVR: Ive read about Count Dantehe seems like an interesting man.

AK: I didnt really like him. He wasnt a really nice guy. But that was okay, because what he knew was really good. I wanted to learn his system, not be his buddy.

BLVR: And at the same time he was a hairdresser, right?

AK: Yeah. He owned a wig company. According to his book he invented the Playboy Bunny hairstyle. And maybe he did. To me, it wasnt incongruous that he would be a hairstylist and also a martial artist. It is like the samurai, who is super with the sword and also does flower arranging. So to me it made perfect sense. Besides, its a good way to meet girls.

BLVR: What does the society do?

AK: Essentially it was his karate club. In China there is a Black Dragon Fighting Society, before than it was called the Black Dragon Tong of Retribution, before that it was called several other things. Six thousand years ago it was called the Polestar School. The purpose was to preserve knowledge. My theory is they were preserving knowledge from civilizations from time of Atlantis. I think there have been lots of civilizations we dont remember because of these Planetary cataclysms, but thats a whole astrological theory. Be that as it may, back then the polestar was Sigma Draconis and that was in the dragon constellation. Since then the polestar has drifted, and now its Polaris, which is 15 degrees off from the actual geographic pole. Thats why the planet wobbles. The planet wobbles and every 43,000 years the poles shift and we have a cataclysm. Anyway, they got the name Black Dragon because the dragon star was once the polestar, but now it was hidden and so it was black.

Being in the Black Dragon Fighting Society is not like being in the army, where you go to the office everyday and sit around and have a training schedule, which is what most people think it is. And maybe it will be like that one day.

BLVR: Some people seem very concerned about whether you are authentic. Do you have to deal with a lot of that?

AK: Oh, yeah. Quite a bit. Theres always a bunch of people that can find something to argue about. All criticism is jealousy, basically. Guys who scream and yell because theyve never seen me fightwell, thats because they never bought the tape. One of my fights is on tape and it looks pretty good. It was a draw, because it was an exhibition, but, you know, it looks pretty good. But they dont want to see it, because they dont want to believe that I can do anything. Theyve already got their minds made up.

The reason I got into ninjitsu was because I started off looking for invisibility. My ambition was invisibilitythe idea that the enemy cant hit you if he cant see you, and the enemy cant hit you if youre not there. This is the most non-violent martial art in the world, because the first principle of it is: Never take a hit. Dont be there, if you can help it. And if you are there, get out of the way. Dont block nothing. Dont parry nothing. You know, dont deflect anything. Just get out of the way.

Its not really for everybody. Some people like to fight and you have to let them if they want to. Its a stage theyre going through. These people that think theyre tough because theyre in the U.F.C. [Ultimate Fighting Challenge] and stuff like that, thats okay. When theyre all crippled up from having their fingers broken and their legs twisted years from now, theyll look back and think, Gee, I wasnt so bright after all. Its like breaking bricks with your bare hands. You can do it, but you also have to practice the Needle Finger, because if you break enough bricks, your index finger will get stiff. Then youll have another weapon. Itll get arthritic and be stiff as a board, like a pencil, and you can poke holes in things.

Everything is balanced out and the question is, Do you want to sacrifice your hand for the ability to impress somebody whos not going to be impressed no matter how many bricks you break?

BLVR: And these people led you to declare the $10,000 Challenge?

AK: Its basically my response, which is if they want to fight me, they have to pay me and the purse is $10,000 and then they also have to pay all of my expenses for me to come there. And it has to be in public, because if I go into some alley and beat this guy up, he can still go back to his school and say, Hey, I whipped the boys butt. It stops a lot of these idiots who just want to punch somebody out to prove how tough they are.

One time when I had a karate school, a guy came in who wanted to fight to prove how tough he was. He was a big guy, so I told him, Hey, look, if you beat me, its just gonna be a big guy beating up on a little guy, but if I beat you, youre gonna be embarrassed and youre gonna look pretty stupid. Now which way do you want it to be? Do you want to be buds and have a beer or do you want to act like an ass? And the guy decided hed rather have a beer.

This is one of these non-violent ways of overcoming these people, with enlightened self-interest. Every once in a while people get pumped up on steroids or just the exercises themselves, too much testosterone in their system, and they feel like theyve got to go out and punch somebody to prove how bad they are. Its just a stage. Every time I felt that way, somebody slapped the crap out of me. After a while I realized I wasnt nearly as bad as I thought I was. But when I get pissed, Im pretty bad.

Eli Horowitz lives with friends in Berkeley.

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A profile of Caleb Mitchell that ran in the East Bay Express in the summer of 2002. Micthell has an interesting life story and it makes for an interesting article. It's well written (in terms of expression and giving you an insight into someone's life) but there are a few errors when it comes down to the wider sport of MMA. Most notably the writer seems to be under the impression that Rorion and not Royce was the Gracie's representative in the early UFCs.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/c ... lText=true

July 03, 2002

Caleb's Cage

When he was eight, his porn-mogul uncle killed his father in a Shakespearean family feud. Now grown up, Artie Mitchell's son meets his demons in the ring.

By Justin Berton

Caleb Mitchell sat in the darkness of the O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco one day last month, enjoying a lap dance from a woman with long jet-black hair, watching intently as her buttocks swirled into his lap. The nineteen-year-old was pretty smooth about the whole affair. His two teenage buddies who tagged along were also in the club, where they'd self-consciously separated themselves in the don't-think-we're-gay seating pattern. Unlike Caleb, both wore faces that revealed an internal mix of confusion, fear, and glee.

Caleb is comfortable inside the O'Farrell Theatre because he was raised here. His father, Artie Mitchell, opened the place with Caleb's uncle Jim in July 1969, the Summer of Love. The Mitchell brothers pioneered the Bay Area pornography scene, made millions, lived high, then crashed hard--famously hard. In 1991, Jim drove to Artie's house in Corte Madera and with a .22 rifle shot his kid brother twice in the chest and once in the head from a distance of three feet. Uncle Jim's lawyers argued successfully that the shooting was an accident, a drug intervention gone "horribly awry." He served three years for voluntary manslaughter and returned to work after his release.

Tonight at the O'Farrell, Jim is most likely upstairs making his weekly visit, tending to his books. Downstairs, Caleb is receiving his $20 lap dance. The Bee Gees tune "You Should Be Dancin'" fills the club, and the woman with the jet-black hair is now whispering a ghost story into Caleb's ear. About three months ago, she tells him, she was walking backstage when out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of a black-and-white figure, like one from an old photograph. Focusing her eyes, she recognized the figure as Caleb's dad. Artie didn't move or offer a message; he just stood there, looking pissed off.

A few hours later, the woman tells Caleb, another dancer saw the ghost of Artie Mitchell. And she wasn't the only one. On Sunday afternoons, when the theatre is mostly empty and the staff is working on a skeleton crew, weird, unexplainable things have happened. Doors have closed by themselves, curtains have dropped, and on windless days, letters from the marquee outside have suddenly fluttered away into the San Francisco sky.

The stories don't seem to faze Artie's son. Caleb listens with a "whatever" smirk, which is just about the only thing to indicate that Caleb Mitchell is still a teenager. His Van Dyke beard and widow's peak put a few years on him and make him look a lot like his father. Caleb walks with a stride that is all business, with the kind of seriousness that embalms those who've lost a parent at an early age -- particularly those who, from age eight, used sentences that began, "When my uncle murdered my dad ... " From there, the world tends to assume a violent hue.

Once the dancer extricates herself from Caleb's lap, he stands up and moves to the back of the seating area to greet a few longtime employees. Some O'Farrell staffers knew Caleb when he wasn't allowed to play downstairs. Since the killing, and the lawsuits and settlements that followed, Caleb is no longer allowed upstairs. A big round bouncer named Bear sees Caleb all grown up, waddles over smiling, and throws a fake punch before shaking the hand of Artie's boy.

"I hear you're a big brawler now," Bear says.

"Yeah," Caleb says, adding a bashful laugh.

"Helluva a way to make a living," Bear says, "helluva way to make a living."

"Yeah," Caleb says. "Yeah."


Artie Mitchell's son is a no-holds-barred fighter. Caleb is the US bantamweight champion for the International Fighting Championship, a league based in Southern California that promotes fights at Indian casinos. He is 4-1, his only loss coming last December in Hawaii, where he was nearly choked to death in front of three thousand spectators.

The sport is simple: Two men step into a metal cage and battle until one gives up. Competitors wear nothing more than biking shorts and thin leather knuckle gloves, and there are only three rules: no biting, no eye-gouging, and no stomping on a man's face when he's on the ground. Even these are recent requirements, added to appease the sport's critics and ensure "fighter safety." The fights, critics and fans agree, are bloody spectacles.

No-holds-barred fighting debuted in 1993 to wild success on pay-per-view television; buy rates for the sport's premier event walloped the ratings of the popular World Wrestling Federation matches. But the new kid didn't last long in the ring: After a few years, declining audiences -- perhaps weary of the sport's low production values and inconsistent scheduling -- and heavy pressure from critics were the one-two punch that knocked it off cable, and prompted potential venues to blackball the sport.

Now, however, this raw new form of sports entertainment is making a comeback. Over the past two years, boosters have made headway in cleaning up its image. No-holds-barred fighting has regained a place on cable, debuted on prime-time network television, and found itself knocking on the threshold of mainstream acceptance. "Our sport is at a crossroads right now," says Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sport's de facto NFL. "We have fans who are coming from boxing who are bored with what their sport has become, and we're also taking from wrestling fans who want something more, something real."

Indeed, two recent fights in Las Vegas sold out 10,000-seat venues. By comparison, the San Jose Earthquakes -- US soccer's reigning champions and its biggest draw -- struggle to pull in that kind of a crowd. Prior to this year's World Cup, the team's top player, Landon Donovan, was all but unknown in the United States.

Following the UFC's lead, a host of smaller fight leagues have sprouted up in the past two years, each hoping to cash in if the sport goes platinum.

Like most fighters, Caleb didn't jump into this sport overnight. His training started at home long ago. As the youngest of six siblings, his early years were spent as a punching bag for his older brother, Aaron. Caleb grew up suffering through all the classics: the squatting on the chest, finger-thumps to the forehead, and knee-drops to the gut. When he managed to worm away and break free, Aaron would call him Houdini. But the older brother kept after him.

"Growing up, I was always expecting to get punched," Caleb says, telling the story with a playful cringe. "Every time I turned a corner in my house, I expected to get hit. I walked around flinching all the time." Sitting over a salad at a Berkeley cafe, the young pugilist bobs quickly in his chair, and then weaves to the right and left to illustrate his point. "I had to be ready."

He still does. In just 24 hours, he will drive to an Indian reservation deep in California's Central Valley, walk into a cage surrounded by a thousand screaming fans, and brawl with another man until one of them can brawl no longer.


Caleb Mitchell is angry. Full of rage. And it's this anger that drives him to face off against another man to the cheers of a bloodthirsty crowd. Apart from the thrashings doled out by his older brother, life inside the Mitchell home was once rosy, Caleb says. Dad was the kind of guy who took the family on frequent fishing trips off the Mexican coast and peeled off $100 bills for the kids whenever they needed money. Artie was fun and laid-back and told Caleb he'd one day introduce him to his favorite baseball players, the ones who stopped by the family business.

Artie and Jim Mitchell made their greatest mark on pornography and American culture by filming Behind the Green Door, starring Marilyn Chambers. The movie was Artie's idea, and according to several accounts, the porn classic turned the siblings' $60,000 investment into $25 million. The worldwide success of the film launched the Mitchell brothers' career as porn-movie producers and adult-theater operators. The duo embraced First Amendment issues and got cozy with the media -- who knew sex could be a family business? Artie was nicknamed "Artie Party" for his drinking and drug use, while Jim, the elder brother, was characterized as the penny-pinching orderly, Artie's keeper.

In the months leading up to the murder, Caleb's parents divorced, and he recalls the deep rifts that were tearing the family apart. He remembers how the kids took sides, begging to leave their mother and go live with their fun-loving father. He also remembers talk around the dinner table that Uncle Jim was preparing to seize control of the business and lock out his father. Times were suddenly rough.

Though much has been written about Artie Mitchell's drive through excess and his brother's attempt to straighten the course, Caleb believes most of it was Hollywood exaggeration, puffed up to make for a better story. "The scene at Ocean Beach where my dad snorts coke right in front of us? Come on!" The truth was his dad was a typical father who had a few beers here and there, Caleb says. Yet in the end, Artie Mitchell's vices caught up with him and left him volatile and unhinged. "They took the last week of my dad's life," the son says, "and made it look like his entire life."

On February 27, 1991, Caleb stopped briefly by his dad's house to pick up a baseball glove. He couldn't find it, so his father handed the eight-year-old some cash and sent him off to buy a new one. The next morning, Caleb woke up early to life-rending news: His father was dead, slain by his uncle.

The aftermath of the killing was a confusing blur of older people saying a lot of things, and using a lot of words Caleb didn't understand. To investigators, the scene was much clearer. On the night of the murder, Jim had parked three blocks from the house, slashed Artie's car tires, and entered his home with a handgun and a rifle. Jim, an expert shot, fired at an unarmed Artie eight times, hitting him twice in the chest. After Caleb's wounded father retreated to the bathroom, Jim waited 28 seconds before he fired the kill shot into Artie's eye. At the trial, a ballistics expert theorized that the shooter had dropped to one knee to steady his aim before firing the final shot at his victim. Jim was arrested a few blocks away as he hobbled along the street, the rifle jammed down one pant leg.

Prosecutors believed Jim planned the murder, while Jim's lawyers argued their client was lost in a haze of temporary amnesia when he shot his brother, and then argued for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. The trial was sensational: brother murdering brother. A family divided. It was modern-day Shakespeare.

For Caleb, the tragedy was just beginning. The police wanted to know everything he knew about his father and his parents and his uncle, so he sat in a chair and answered their questions over and over again. The lawyers wanted to know, too. And then the therapists wanted to know everything, and they kept asking him, again and again, at three scheduled appointments a week, how is young Caleb feeling?

All the people asking the questions were strangers, and none of them could do a damn thing about the fact that his father was dead. Talking about it helps, they kept telling him. So the best he could do at the time, because talking about it helps, was to say: Basically, it sucks.

At home, he and his older siblings argued deeply and often with their mother, Karen. One night an argument between Caleb and his mom over dishes turned physical -- the mother made a citizen's arrest of her youngest son and had him hauled away. By high school, Caleb had already left home, moving in with friends and his dad's first wife, Meredith, in Cape Cod. The boy was determined to raise himself. Feelings between mother and son are still tense, and an archetypal family portrait has dried in Caleb's head: "My mom is like the Antichrist," he says, "and my dad is like God."

The inevitable books and movie scripts that soon began circulating seemed to tell a much different story than the one Caleb witnessed growing up. To him, they suggested that the fratricide was acceptable, as if Uncle Jim was pushed to the brink by the mess Artie's life had become. The stories put his dad's life on trial, not Jim's.

In Rated X, Charlie Sheen, an actor known for his drug- and alcohol-infused past, played Artie, while Emilio Estevez, Sheen's squeaky-clean brother, was cast as Jim. Caleb and his family watched as the movie took their real lives -- rich and nuanced, as real life tends to be -- and boiled them down to a simple formula: Artie was drunk and bad, Jim was sober and good. Charlie equals dad, Emilio equals Uncle Jim. "All of these stories are justifications for why my uncle murdered my father," says Caleb. "They're told from my uncle's side. Any time they had a chance to make my uncle look good, they did. Any time they had a chance to make my dad look bad, they did."

Reality has been even tougher on Caleb, but he's managed to let some of his bitterness go. On the other hand, much of it remains. Not believing the court's conclusion, he later took it upon himself to do his own research: From interviews with his dad's friends and family members, he concluded that his uncle showed up ready to kill his dad. He's just not sure how premeditated it was: A few hours? Days? A lifetime? But all that stuff is in the past now, he says. He's not looking to avenge his father's murder. This is real life, after all, not Shakespeare, even though everyone knows who killed the king. "My uncle got away with murder," he says, flatly.

Caleb sees his uncle from time to time, mostly in court, where the uncle has the advantage. "I wish it was me who was dead," Jim Mitchell said during his trial. But he wasn't dead, and Jim -- who did not respond to phone messages seeking his perspective for this story -- quickly assumed control of the Mitchell Brothers empire. What it was worth, Artie's kids may never really know. What they do know, Caleb says, is that what was once half Artie's was wrested from his family through years of legal maneuvers by his uncle's attorneys. At one point, Caleb says, he was offered a $16,000 settlement, which he refused, and which still leaves him bitter. In the end, he and his siblings each got about $200,000, a fraction of what Caleb believes is a fair shake. "Right now I should be a rich pornographer," the young man quips. "Instead, I'm a fighter."

A trust-fund fighter, no less. At the Palace Casino in Lemoore, California, he'll earn $250 for his fight, $500 if he wins. It's a lousy purse, but Caleb doesn't do it for the money. He does it for the sport.

That, at least, is his easy answer, a cherry to place atop his sordid family tale. For Caleb is the first to admit that he's driven by anger. They all fucked with him: the cops, the lawyers, the shrinks, the brother, the mom, the uncle, Hollywood -- all of them. It's just how he was raised. And he spent all those years in therapy drawing this road map of his life, learning how it has ended up here, inside a cage.

He doesn't get nervous when he arrives to fight; it's a mental space familiar to him. That, he believes, is why the meatheads who jump into the cage with a head full of rocks and an ass full of testosterone get themselves beaten silly: It's because they don't know where they're at, or how they got there, or where it's all coming from, or how to harness their severe emotions. They just punch and kick and scream -- and go nowhere.

Caleb Mitchell stays cool. He knows why he fights. He has the residue of his dad's murder clinging to him every day, and every few months he gets to purge it. He considers fighting a healthy outlet for his soul, an experience through which all of his negative energy is concentrated and then unloaded at the sound of the referee's voice calling an end to the match. After every fight he suffers through fits of dry heaves, a sort of exorcism, as he sees it, of his frayed nerves, his excess adrenaline, and his physical and emotional pain. "I didn't learn how to fight so I could hurt people," he says. "I learned how to fight so I wouldn't get hurt anymore."


It's Tuesday night, and the Cesar Gracie Academy is packed. The gym, located in an L-shaped strip mall in Pleasant Hill, between an Outback Restaurant and a hair salon, is where Caleb and other local fighters come to train five days a week. Apart from some private gyms in San Francisco and San Jose, Gracie's is the only public place in Northern California where a would-be fighter can get expert training.

Cesar Gracie relocated his fight club from a smaller space seven months ago. The new space is clean and airy and looks more like an IKEA showroom than a brawl hall, but it's equipped with the telltale ring and punching bags, and on this particular evening a record 45 students, all males, are sweating through two hours of jujitsu instruction.

Gracie has the body of a fit accountant, and the face of a fighter -- a heavy brow and a nose that's taken some hits -- but he carries himself with a casual surfer vibe that belies his vocation. The 36-year-old trainer is delighted by tonight's turnout. "This sport is getting so huge!" he exclaims with open arms as he greets a visitor outside the gym.

So far, about a dozen of his jujitsu students have made the leap to no-holds-barred fighting. When they do, Gracie trains them in the grappling aspects of the brawl, and hires boxing and kickboxing coaches to hone those fighting skills.

In the insular world of no-holds-barred fighting, being trained by a Gracie counts for something. The name, to this small but growing community, is what Jordan is to basketball. Riordan Gracie, Cesar's cousin, more or less invented the sport. An expert in the Brazilian form of jujitsu, he teamed up with pay-per-view producers in 1993 to dream up the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Jujitsu is an old discipline, a so-called mixed martial art that blends judo and other disciplines with street fighting. Prior to the UFC, people mistook it for a brand of steak knives. But today, thanks to Riordan Gracie, an estimated 250 jujitsu academies are scattered around the United States.

Gracie's seminal idea was to bring together fighters of all sorts -- boxers, karate masters, jujitsu experts, wrestlers, barroom-style brawlers, and so on -- and pit them in a grand tournament to determine the superior method. The only rule was that there were no rules: Fighters could wear whatever they pleased, gloves were optional, and, eerily, there was only one round. A fight ended only when one fighter was "unable to defend himself," or conceded defeat by slapping the canvas twice. The event was straight out of the 1985 Mad Max sequel Beyond Thunderdome; its promoters even lifted the film's tag line: "Two men enter. One man leaves."

Seeking to boost their ratings, Gracie and the promoters glammed up the event with an eye toward WWF theatrics. They scripted fighter profiles to mimic monster characters from Street Fighter, the popular video game of the day. Barrel-chested Russian men weighing 300 pounds were dragged out of their dreary lives in the archipelago (or so the story went) and pitted against 170-pound masters like Gracie, who has since retired from fighting.

Yet this was no video game. The blood, for one, was very real, and so was the crowd's lust to see it spilled. While viewers expected to witness a gory pummeling at every turn and winced when it was delivered, the underlying appeal was watching Gracie outfox his larger opponents and wrap them in his strangleholds. One of the world's top practitioners of jujitsu, he could kick and punch from a standing position like a traditional judo master, but did his real damage on the mat.

Jujitsu fighters are masters of grappling, and one as skillful as Gracie could tie up competitors like a boa constrictor neutralizing its prey. His "arm bar" bent the rival's arm back at the elbow until it was ready to pop; the "triangle" wrapped opponents around the neck and chest, cutting off circulation. In his most exciting hold, the "guillotine," Gracie would leap onto his rival's chest like a small child, wrapping one leg around the waist and using the other one to drop him, painfully, to the mat. Tap-outs followed quickly.

Even when a heavier fighter would pin Gracie on his back, the position where most fights end, he'd somehow slither into an offensive position for the win. Sometimes he baited his rival into a false sense of dominance; it was like watching a rabbit fight a grizzly, with the hare getting the best of the bear every time. Gracie's jujitsu skills won him three straight UFC belts, and future fighters felt compelled to at least learn the rudiments of his discipline.

As the pay-per-view audiences and the sport's exposure grew, so did the chorus of detractors. No-holds-barred fighting was loudly protested and vilified as "barbaric" by parents' groups, television critics, and politicians such as Senator John McCain, who led a campaign against the UFC. McCain's tirades ultimately spooked advertisers, and promoters began having trouble locating host cities for the unsanctioned fights. Pay-per-view networks bowed to the political pressure and dropped the sport. Without the rules and regulations, its critics argued successfully, no-holds-barred fighting was technically assault and battery on a stage.

Still, the public had demonstrated a lucrative thirst for cage fighting, and the sport's backers weren't about to tap out early. Instead, the Ultimate Fighting Championship took its show on the road, gaining fans in England and Asia over the next three years. Meanwhile, as the various fight leagues -- now banned from most municipalities -- turned to the sanctuary of Indian reservations, the UFC began lobbying state athletic commissions for acceptance.

That, of course, has required a makeover. Within the past year, the UFC came under new management, hired Dana White -- a former trainer and fighter -- as its president, and launched a whole-hog effort to win the hearts of mainstream sports fans. Following boxing's lead, league officials agreed last September to divide fighters into weight classes, and to require gloves, which, at just four ounces, feel only slightly heavier than biking gloves. They also adopted five-minute rounds. More recently, the league has embarked on a public-relations blitz to sell the new look, bombarding media outlets with promotional materials entitled, "From Spectacle to Sport -- The Story of the UFC."

The old UFC, White says, oversold the blood factor and got splattered by the bad press that followed. The new league, he says, is about putting on clean, fair fights. "Our sport has world-class athletes. They're usually trained in boxing and kickboxing and some sort of grappling, like jujitsu. The object of our show isn't to see anyone get hurt. It's to see a fight. Now we want people in the mainstream to understand our sport like we do, so they can see it and respect it the way we do."

The cleanup efforts seem to be paying off. Complaints about the violence have subsided, says White, noting that Senator McCain issued a statement applauding the recent rule changes. As a whole, he says, the sport hardly registers on today's violence meter. "Is no-holds-barred fighting really shocking today?" White asks rhetorically. "But what's shocking now? Is it Eminem? Is it 'Jackass' on MTV? Is it, whatever it's called, 'Most Scariest Videos'? Is it Bumfights.com? All of that stuff is violent, too."

Bumfights, White says with disgust, was started by college students who paid homeless men chump change to fight. They recorded the street bouts, then sold videotapes via the Internet. "Made millions," White says.

That's one thing the UFC also aspires to. In September, athletic commissions in Louisiana, Nevada, and New Jersey officially sanctioned the sport -- hello Las Vegas, hello Atlantic City -- and league officials have California in their sights for next year. Last month, a UFC welterweight match was showcased on the Fox Network's "Best Damn Sports Show, Period," marking the first appearance of no-holds-barred fighting on prime-time network television.


While fighting still pales in national stature next to boxing, it has paid off for Gil Castillo. The 36-year-old was training in jujitsu three years ago when Cesar Gracie signed him up to fight on short notice. Gracie, who hasn't fought in a few years, uses the quick pitch so, in his words, "they don't have time to get scared."

Shadowboxing in Gracie's gym below a sign that reads, "The More You Sweat, the Less You Bleed," Castillo says the minimal preparation time was helpful. His biggest fear was fighting in the cage, and he'd never have done it on his own. After winning his first match, he experienced a rush, an exhilarating sensation of overcoming fear and not merely surviving, but dominating. "I got a taste for it," Castillo says of the feeling, "and after that, I went back for more."

Now with an 18-1 record -- his only loss was a long and bloody championship bout -- Castillo is among the sport's contenders; he ranks consistently in the world's top ten in his weight class. He started with IFC fights before winning the notice of UFC promoters, and recently signed a contract with the bigger league for three fights that offer what, in this sport, are nice purses: $32,000, $42,000, and $52,000. That's more than most boxers get, he says, but not as much as he makes annually as a stockbroker. Castillo says his family isn't pleased with his second job, and after his contract is up, he's done. "I'm 36, man," he says. "I'm on my last leg."

It is age, more than fear, that has Castillo set to hang up his thin gloves. Fighters and trainers say their sport is actually safer than boxing. Because the competitors don't stand there and take repeated punches to the head, there's less room for brain damage in the end. To date, only one death has been attributed to no-holds-barred fighting; supporters like to point out that the WWF also had an in-ring death recently -- although that death was related to a stunt -- while boxing has suffered several fatalities over the years.

On the entertainment side, promotional guys like White say their sport offers the most authentic form of man-to-man fighting available. It's what sports fans are craving, he says: something to fill the void left by the stagnant, sorry state of boxing. To illustrate how far boxing has fallen, White cites the recent heavyweight championship bout between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. What a bore, he says. Tyson's draw wasn't for his skill, but for his rap sheet.

White wasn't that fight's only critic. The Tyson-Lewis match was considered a ruse by boxing aficionados; the sport's noted historian Bert Randolph Sugar boycotted the event, and urged fans to do the same. Sugar said anyone who paid to see the fight was a sucker, and anyone who contributed to the spectacle of Tyson was degrading his beloved sport, a sport that once crowned true champions, men of substance, men like Muhammad Ali. Those heroes are gone, Sugar said.

On the night of the title fight, video bites on pay-per-view had Tyson declaring that he'd like to make dinner out of Lewis' children. He also said, "I don't care how I fight Lewis. It'd be fine with me if it was a no-holds-barred brawl and we just went for it."

The fighter later admitted to reporters, after he'd been shut up in the eighth round by a right cross to the chin, that his trash talk was marketing 101, bravado he'd created to sell tickets. Of course he wouldn't really fight a no-holds-barred match.

What, you think he's crazy?


What's crazy is the heat. Driving from the East Bay into Central California in the high summer, the endless miles of flat valley floor are dry and yellow, and the landscape looks like it's ready to go up in flames at any moment. Just past the massive Harris Ranch slaughterhouse on I-5, the musky stench of raw meat and guts streams straight through the car's air vents and up into the nostrils.

The Palace Casino in Lemoore rises from the horizon like a cruise ship plopped down on the desert floor. No signs warn of its arrival, and there's no need for them: The square, pink behemoth is visible from miles away. Locals point to it when they're giving directions.

At 7 p.m., it's still ninety degrees out, and an outdoor arena has been thrown together in a dry grass field near the casino parking lot. White plastic chairs circle the empty cage, as though anticipating a wedding, and behind them, a ring of metal bleacher seats. The black steel cage is pentagonal, with colored floodlights pointed down onto the mat from above. Pre-fight, it looks like a baited animal trap. In a way it is: As many as a thousand people will soon cram into this field, shelling out $20 a pop for a chance to see what happens inside this metal enclosure.

The lines are already long, and as the crowd begins to filter in, it's pretty easy to distinguish the sports fans from the blood fans. A portion of the crowd consists of fighters and their families and friends who travel the circuit, bopping from show to show. These fans carry themselves with an easy assurance, having witnessed it all before. The trainers and fighters who came from as far as San Diego and Olympia, Washington, may as well be doing their taxes tonight.

The blood fans, by contrast, are anxious and stirred, already high on the whiff of violence. A group of Harley riders takes its seats near the front, and one drunk biker tumbles out of line, wiping out a few chairs like dominoes. "Man down!" his friend shouts, before joining him on the ground for a play fight. Other dudes show up from Bakersfield and Fresno wearing attitude-on-a-sleeve-clothing: No Fear, Bad Boy, and a fighter-tailored brand called Pain Inc. They stroll around the hot evening with wraparound sunglasses clipped above the bills of their baseball caps. They wear shorts and flip-flops that crunch on the dry grass, and arrive with girlfriends who have trouble maneuvering the terrain in high heels. They carry red plastic cups filled with cold Budweiser.

Sellout. The show is running thirty minutes late, and the crowd is impatient for entertainment. The sudden sound of tires screeching from the parallel road surprises everyone into silence. The screech ends in a loud crunch. For an instant, more silence, then wild cheers. "Yeah," yells a dude, raising his beer. "Arrest him!" Paramedics, who've already propped up one gurney next to the cage -- for efficiency, not for show -- hustle to the scene, which turns out to be an SUV fender-bender.

The crowd stands for the national anthem, which concludes with fireworks blasting off like guns. The show is on! A line of bikini girls struts down the ten-yard catwalk to sounds of blaring rap-metal music -- "Let the bodies hit the floor! Let the bodies hit the floor!" The young women circle the cage and return behind the black curtain from which they'd emerged.

The moment the first fighter appears from behind the curtain the crowd rises to its feet and cheers him down the catwalk. This fighter, nicknamed "The Hammer," is a local boy from Lemoore. He is 185 pounds, most of it chest and arms, and his last name is tattooed across his back in old English-style lettering. He wears black shorts, and his face looks like he'll settle for nothing less than murder.

His challenger plods down the runway and makes his entrance. This guy was clearly trained in a barroom and took up the challenge on some sort of bet. And while the rival's female entourage cheers loudly, his attempts to stare down the Hammer are ineffective. The ref has them touch gloves, and the crowd lets out a collective yell of relief: finally, some action. With every second drenched in anticipation -- and every moment mounting on top of the last -- the fight feels like it goes on for an hour. In reality it lasts exactly one minute, one second.

The two men dance about like boxers, sizing each other up, throwing empty jabs, letting the anticipation build and not wanting to make contact just yet. But audience members are calling for blood, and the Hammer is happy to oblige: Stepping forward, he catches his overcharged opponent with two steady right hooks that cut the rival's face like a machete. The doctor calls it off, and the Hammer's victim, after gesturing that the doc had screwed him, looks relieved as he lists back toward the curtain. As is the custom, the MC interviews the winner center-cage about his strategy. "Just knock the fuck out of him," puffs the Hammer, who proceeds to grab the microphone for a few slobbering "Yo Adrian" shout-outs that last longer than his fight.

In another bout, a brawler from San Jose had his nose punched and kicked back into his head. His foe left the cage literally bloodied up to the elbow, with flecks of red sprayed across his ankles. A subsequent fighter, Shannon "The Cannon" Rich, played his own highlight reel on a large video screen before his match and wore sunglasses as he did a little jig down the catwalk. Immediately after the starting bell he landed a few crowd-pleasing helicopter kicks from long range. But twenty seconds later, he was flat on his back, where he verbally conceded the bout. The crowd booed the pretty boy all the way back to his native Arizona.

Caleb's entourage was led by a few of the bikini girls, while Cesar Gracie and the other trainers trailed behind him. The nineteen-year-old's face was a mask of concentration, and he strode straight to the cage; there he removed his socks and shoes and did a little "raise-the-roof" gesture as the MC announced him from "Bez-erk-eleeeeeeeeeey, California." He actually lives in Concord, but Berkeley's more prominent on the map.

The young fighter knew little about his opponent, Ken Hamlitt. The rivals came together on short notice. Caleb had previously spent six weeks in heavy training, preparing for another fighter who canceled at the last minute. Caleb then dropped his guard for two weeks while the promoters found a replacement, which was no easy task. The thirty-year-old Hamlitt had to drop fifteen pounds in two days to make the weight class, and he barely made it.

By fight time, however, Hamlitt was back up to 158, a good thirteen pounds heavier than Caleb, and it showed. He entered the ring with a beefy waist, pale skin, and hunched shoulders, looking not so much like a fighter as like a computer geek who'd wandered into the wrong club. During the stare down, Hamlitt's heavy eyelids indicated that he either wanted to go to sleep or run away.

At the bell, Caleb bobbed his head and danced around while Hamlitt stalked him. Caleb faked a jab, then kicked his opponent's shin as hard as he could. The sound was like a bare foot kicking an oak tree. Then another kick scored, to the crowd's delight, and finally Hamlitt woke up.

Simultaneously, the fighters landed hard right punches that neutralized one another. Taking a punch, Caleb says, shakes your brain for half a second and leaves you cloudy, unaware. It's what you do in that half a second that makes or breaks the fight: Either you guard up and regain composure by muscle memory, or you drop your hands and take another shot. If the shots continue, you're outta luck.

Both fighters regained clarity at the same moment and at first instinct threw vicious punches, missing. The pair tangled up into a ball and Hamlitt fell on top of Caleb, smashing his head into the chain-link wall on the way down. Caleb immediately wrapped his legs around Hamlitt's midsection and guarded his own face like a lobster on his back. Now on top of Caleb, Hamlitt rained punches down onto Caleb's face as Aaron Mitchell used to, one after the other. Would Houdini escape this time?

The crowd cheered for Hamlitt's advantage. All they could see of Caleb was his feet desperately kicking at his opponent's kidneys. That was enough to distract Hamlitt, who gave Caleb sufficient slack to squirm his knees to his chest and push the big guy away from him. As Hamlitt lunged back toward his rival, Caleb kicked his heel directly into Hamlitt's chin, snapping the head back and briefly winning applause from the crowd. But Hamlitt quickly managed to smother him again, and the round ended with Caleb having spent most of it pinned to the canvas. The blood crowd wasn't pleased.

"Do something, assholes!" one guy yelled.

"I throw shoes harder than your punches," screamed another.

The fight fans were disappointed, too. Cesar knew Caleb was weakened by his break in training, and his heavier opponent could play the game of taking Caleb down, plopping on top of him, and waiting -- a strategy Hamlitt followed for another uneventful round. For Caleb to have a chance at winning, he would need to remain standing and strike at Hamlitt with punches, kicks, and sweeps.

At the start of the third round Caleb nailed Hamlitt hard with a punch to the cheekbone and had his man wobbling backward toward the fence. The crowd could sense the clouds in Hamlitt's head, and Cesar screamed for Caleb to finish him off, but the young fighter's body responded in slow motion. Exhausted from spending the last ten minutes wrestling on the mat, he lurched into Hamlitt and threw a punch that had all the power of a wet noodle. Hamlitt opened his arms, caught Caleb, and dragged him down to his back, where again, he sat on Caleb and then dropped slow, exhausted punches on Caleb's face. After a few seconds, the fighters seemed to merge into a heaving ball of flesh with Hamlitt on top.

For a good minute, Hamlitt held his rival down, gathering energy for his last barrage. Suddenly, he rose up to his knees, straddling Caleb at the stomach, and began whaling punches on Caleb's face, like a windmill, one after the other. The crowd cheered more, sensing the finish.

Their instincts were right. Caleb's defenses dropped, and his body went limp. It could no longer defend itself. His face bobbed as if he were asleep, and the ref wedged a straight arm between the two men, halting Hamlitt's fist cocked in midair behind his head. The crowd cheered and booed, and immediately began calling for its next dish.

A bikini girl entered the cage with the MC and handed a dreary Hamlitt a very large trophy, which he just barely had the strength to hoist over his head. He spat out his mouthpiece and smiled.

Below him, Caleb left the cage, confused, his face swollen and blue with rivulets of blood trickling down his cheekbones. Breathing like a bull, he stood barefoot and shirtless in the evening heat, his chest heaving.

The fighter waved off his trainers and friends who gathered near him at the stairs. Then, after a few seconds, he tapped his hands together, and without a word turned away from the cage and walked across the dead dry grass toward his trailer, his demons behind him for the moment, but still very much alive.

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A very brief article that ran in the Toledo Blade on March 26, 2004. It's about Richard Simmons allegedly assaulting a gentleman named Chris Farney. Farney is a salesman for Harley Davidson but he is described as having fought MMA.

Transcribed from Google News. So, typos will be down to me.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=hF ... ting&hl=en

March 26, 2004

Exercise guru faces allegation of assault

Simmons allegedly slaps burly salesman


Phoenix Flamboyant fitness guru Richard Simmons was cited by authorities for allegedly slapping a 255-pound Harley-Davidson salesman who was poking fun at his exercise yesterday.

Mr. Simmons, 54, was ticketed for misdemeanour assault after allegedly hitting the man at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Wednesday night, police said.

The confrontation occurred when the man identified as Chris Farney, 23, recognized Mr Simmons as the trainer was signing autographs and posing for pictures, the police said.

He [Farney] apparently said, Hey everybody, its Richard Simmons. Lets drop our bags and rock to the 50s, said Sgt, Lauri Williams, referring to the Sweatin to the Oldies exercise videos.

According to the police report, Mr. Farney said Mr Simmons told him, Its not nice to make fun of people with issues before slapping him on the left side of the face.

Police described Mr. Farney as a 6-foot-1-inch, 255-pound sales representative for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company. He has competed in cage fighting, otherwise known as mixed martial arts.

He told officers he had no intention of hitting Mr. Simmons who stands 5 feet, 4 inches tall.

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A 2003 BBC article on Rosi Sexton.

Inside Out is a documentary series so there would have been a show (or a segment of a show) in which Rosi featured to go along with this.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/northwes ... arts.shtml

Inside Out North West: Monday February 9, 2003


Lots of people lead double lives - but Inside Out met someone whose two passions couldnt be further apart.

Meet Rosi Sexton - doctor of mathematics by day, caged fighter by night!

Dr Rosi Sexton in her cage fighting attire

Rosi Sexton is an unlikely fighter.

Shes a high achiever in the academic world of Manchester University where shes just become a doctor of maths. In this world, shes quiet, unassuming and calm.

But in her spare time shes also a top British fighter in the rather unusual sport of cage fighting otherwise known as mixed martial arts. Put her in a cage and she becomes fierce, feisty and quite scary.

Rosi says, "Both I do because of the challenge. Maths is obviously a mental challenge.

"With mixed martial arts what everyone sees is the physical challenge, but theres also the mental aspect.

"Its like a game of chess. The difference is youve got to do it while theyre hitting you, which is a bit more challenging!"

What is mixed martial arts?

Mixed martial arts combines techniques from different disciplines like wrestling and boxing. There are few rules making it as true to real fighting as possible.

The cage is there for safety - to stop the fighters falling out of the ring.

In America its big business but has only taken off here in the last five years. It isnt recognised by any UK governing bodies despite its historic origins.

Karl Tanswell, a Mixed Martial Arts Coach says, "Its the original Olympic sport. Its the ultimate athletic endeavour."


It was Rosis tenacity, rather than a natural talent, that impressed Karl enough to take her on at his gym in Manchester.

Karl says of Rosi when he first met her, "I thought she was too small and that shed get hurt I just wanted to get rid of her really."

Through intense training and dedication, Rosi has become successful.

Karl says, "She trains like a pro. Shes disciplined, she takes her nutrition and she rests when she needs to and thats what you need. If your preparation is good, then your games going to be good."

Dedication is an all-around attribute for Rosi. Maths isnt an easy subject and to become a doctor of it requires dedication.

Lack of opponents

Mixed martial arts is a male dominated sport there are only a handful of female competitors in Rosis weight category in Britain and shes fought and beaten them all.

Rosis last major fight against Carla OSullivan was in April 2003. This means that she has now literally run out of opponents.

Rosi says, "It gets frustrating sometimes. I dont get to fight as often as Id like."


Mixed martial arts certainly isnt for the faint hearted. But Rosi claims its not as violent as it looks because fighters submit rather than fight to the end.

Rosi says, "Its one of these sports that the tabloids love to jump on because they can play on the violence, which is a shame because if they could see what was involved in the sport and the technicality of it, I think a lot of people would change their mind."

Despite no official recognition all competitors must be licensed and insured. According to the industry, injury rates are very low.

Future prospects

The shortage of women in the sport hasnt done Rosis game any harm, but with no major fights to look forward to it is a challenge for Karl to keep her motivated.

Now that Rosis trounced the available talent in Britain, Karl is looking abroad to Japan, France and America for serious opponents in Rosis weight category.

In the meantime Rosi is to continue training and practising. Considering her experience and dedicated personality, it is likely that however long she waits, shell be fully prepared.

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The February 26, 2003 edition of Mark Madden's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette column. One of the subjects it deals with is the future of Mike Tyson. Four days earlier Tyson had annihilated Clifford Etienne in his first fight back after losing to Lewis.

Mark suggests that the UFC could be a possible option for Tyson, that Tyson would be a big PPV draw for the UFC, that him fighting Tank Abbott in the UFC might draw more money on PPV than a rematch with Lewis and that that Abbott would annihilate Tyson in an MMA fight. I'll give Mark that Tyson in the UFC would certainly have improved their PPV numbers. Let's put it this way, I have my doubts about the rest.

Transcribed from Google News. So, typos will be down to me. Some of the odd punctuation is down to the original column though.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=RP ... bott&hl=en

Mark Madden

February 26, 2003

Marks Madness

Mike Tyson might not have a title belt. But is there any doubting that hes the peoples champion?

Roy Jones Jr. might be, pound-for-pound, the best fighter in the world. He might prove himself to be even more than that if he can win the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship Saturday. Lennox Lewis, who has all the other important heavyweight titles, is a gentleman as well as a great fighter.

But we dont want gentlemen and we certainly dont want technicians playing patty-cake (or Spaddy-cake) for 12 boring rounds. Who has time for that? We want Tyson, a train wreck of a human being who knocks people senseless with a single blow. Tyson is the only boxer anyone talks about.

In addition, theres the distinct chance that Tyson will kill Jim Gray during a postfight interview. Its a shame that cant be guaranteed. The pay-per-view numbers would go through the roof.

When it comes to memorable moments in boxing, I cant decide between Ali-Frazier I and Tysons response just this past Saturday when Gray asked him to define the exact nature of his back injury. Tyson practically bit Grays head off with a one-world tirade: Spinal! These go to 11.

This is the age of reality TV. Our society has eschewed creativity in favor of unpredictability. That defines Tysons popularity. We want instant gratification. Nothing could be more instant or more gratifying than Tysons 49 second knockout of Clifford Etienne.

Tyson felled Etienne with such force that Etiennes leg almost snapped under him. Frankly, the leg breaking would have been a nice touch.

After the fight, Iron Mike claimed that, at $5 million for 4 seconds of work, he was underpaid. I agree, although its worth noting that Etienne sounds an awful lot like ATM.

So, now what?

Tyson says hes not ready for a rematch with Lewis. He needs more rounds, more time in the gym.

But the truth is, Tyson will never be ready to fight Lewis again. Even though Lewis is getting a mite creaky, Tyson is, too, and his psyche is too fragile no, really to handle a legitimately good foe.

For the sake of Tyson and Mike is obviously all Im concerned about here the remainder of his career should be paced to give him as many paydays as possible while shielding him from any humiliating losses that might rob him of his drawing power. Then again, if Lewis making Tyson look like a chump in their first meeting didnt kill Tyson as a draw, then maybe nothing will.

I dont care about Tyson reclaiming the heavyweight title(s). Theyre all just alphabet soup mumbo-jumbo at this point, anyway. I dont care about Tyson waging any more classic battles.

I just want wholesome family entertainment that features somebody getting quickly and decisively socked in the melon. Tyson-Lewis II? Id rather Tyson-Springsteen I.

Getting semiserious for a moment, Tyson would be a heck of a pay-per-view moneymaker in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's almost-anything-goes octagon.

If street brawler Tank Abbott survives his Ultimate Fighting comeback Friday, thus reclaiming his unofficial title as the most popular Ultimate fighter, Tyson-Tank would produce scads of cash, maybe more than Tyson-Lewis II could.

Abbot would pulverise Tyson, by the way. Tank would take him down and torture him. A grappler almost always beats a striker, and Tyson has nothing on Tank as far as being floridly psychotic is concerned. But everyone loses sometime in the UFC, so Tyson would maintain his, uh, credibility.

I would also like to see Tyson fight an actual black rhino. The rhino couldnt do worse than Etienne did. Instead of getting a facial tattoo, maybe Tyson could have brain surgery a few days before his next fight.

At this point, I would like to offer some sympathy to another peoples champion, Dwayne Johnson, a k a The Rock of WWE and Scorpion King movie fame.

Finally, The Rock has come to his senses and has decided to make starring in action flicks his primary occupation, forsaking wrestling for all but a few special occasions like probably never once his WWE contract expires.

For deciding to further himself financially by involving himself in an alternate profession which is less physically demanding as well as much more mainstream and respectable, The Rock has been branded a sellout by wrestling devotees and has been mercilessly booed at WWE events. The harangue by the great unwashed has been so great that WWE was basically forced to make The Rock a bad guy.

Wrestling fans have never been known for their intelligence, and their actions in this instance certainly wont gain them admission to Harvard. Or Point Park. They should be proud that The Rocks hard work has paid off in such spectacular fashion. The Rock has been entirely professional throughout his wrestling career. He has always given maximum effot and never refused to do whats right for business.

Ironically, one catalyst for the fans turning on The Rock is the immoral Hulk Hogan, his opponent at WWEs most recent pay-per-view. Hogan is a textbook prima donna who takes his ball and goes home every time hes asked to something that puts him a bad light, like, say lose a match. Its just fake wrestling, Hulk. You may be pushing 70, but its never too late to get over yourself.

The ticket buyers love Hogan, but hate The Rock. The Rock seems legitimately hurt by this and is venting his frustration with the spectators in some classic interviews on WWE TV. The fighting may be staged but, in the case of The Rock, the talking is real.

Hogan gets his at next months Wrestlemania, though, as he faces WWE owner Vincent K. McMahon in a match McMahon has waited 20 years.

The boss will win. Boy, talk about reality TV.

Mark Madden is the host of sports talk show from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays on WEAE-AM (1250)

For context...

Mike Tyson Vs Clifford Etienne (The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, USA) (February 22, 2003)



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A New York Times piece on UFC 12. There is no author byline listed on the article.

This article seems to have heavily influenced the AP piece about the event, which was posted previously in the thread. When the AP piece says, "Information from The New York Times is included in this report." I would imagine that it is referencing the article below.

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/09/nyreg ... -fare.html

Meanwhile, in Alabama, The Fight Is Family Fare

Published: February 09, 1997

The Ultimate Fighting Championship may have been too extreme for New York State, but not for this small Southern city, which on Friday embraced the event and its kick-boxing, head-butting contestants.

''It's something we haven't seen in this area, unless you go to the bars,'' said Ken Brimlow of Dothan, who sneaked his two adolescent sons into a downtown arena to watch the fights, which were supposed to be restricted to those 18 and older. The fights moved here at the last minute from Niagara Falls and were broadcast live on pay-per-view television.

Despite the sometimes savage competition, Mr. Brimlow had no qualms about taking his children.

''They see it every day in the streets,'' he said. ''Here, it's a controlled situation.''

Just barely. Blood spilled in all but two of the nine bouts, as fighters used nearly any tactic to gain an advantage in an event that has been likened to human cockfighting. One 323-pound fighter spent much of his match atop his 215-pound opponent, battering the smaller man's face with his knees and fists for almost 10 minutes, until a referee finally stopped the bloody fight.

The no-holds-barred nature of so-called ultimate, or extreme, fighting led Gov. George E. Pataki to seek a ban on the sport in New York last year. Legislators decided instead to regulate the contests, and the State Athletic Commission approved emergency rules on Jan. 30 before the championship event was to take place in Niagara Falls.

The event's promoter, Robert B. Meyrowitz, said the rules -- which called for protective headgear, a larger ring and other safeguards -- were too strict, and he went to court to overturn them. A Federal judge ruled against him on Thursday, so Mr. Meyrowitz's company, the S.E.G. Sports Corporation, quickly moved the event to Dothan, a city of 50,000 in southeastern Alabama.

Mr. Meyrowitz said Dothan's Civic Center happened to have no bookings for Friday evening. It also happens that Alabama does not regulate professional fighting, and S.E.G. Sports had staged a similar show without incident last December in Birmingham.

Some here were skeptical after hearing of New York's objections to the event.

''You worry about how this would fit into the norms of the community because of the publicity,'' said Jerry Gwaltney, Dothan's city manager, who fielded complaints from about a half-dozen residents Friday. ''Dothan is a good city with good people. We don't want to do anything to tarnish our image.''

Despite the short notice, and despite competition from a long-planned monster-truck contest across town, nearly all of the Civic Center's 3,100 seats were filled.

Because the fights were moved to Dothan so abruptly, the promoters charged no admission fee. Many in the arena said they frequently bought similar pay-per-view shows at home, and acknowledged that they were drawn by the sheer violence of a sport that featured athletes with nicknames like the Pit Bull.

Susan Van Cleave drove 50 miles from Bonifay, Fla., after she heard radio advertisements for the fights.

''I'm a big fan,'' she said in her fourth-row seat. ''We always get the pay-per-view fights, and the whole family gets together.''

Fighters mingled with fans before and after their fights, signing autographs and talking about the controversy surrounding the sport. They said their sport was as safe as any other and that they deserved the same respect as other professional athletes.

''It's not a fight to the death; it's a fight until somebody wins,'' said Mark (the Hammer) Coleman, who won the evening's main event and its $100,000 prize. ''If anybody got to meet some of us outside the ring, they'd see I treat people with respect. I consider myself a nice guy.''

Indeed, after their fight, Mr. Coleman and his opponent, Dan (the Beast) Severn, stood in the ring and shared a hug.

Other combatants were not so friendly.

For the entire 18 minutes of one match, Yoshiki Takahashi dominated his opponent, Wallid Ismail. He punched him with his fists. He twisted him into a pretzel hold on the mat. He butted his head until he drew blood.

But Mr. Ismail did not surrender, and the bout went into overtime. As Mr. Ismail staggered around the ring, arms at his sides, Mr. Takahashi taunted him by running in place, then punching him in the face. Blood streamed down Mr. Ismail's cheeks like tears. When the judges declared Mr. Takahashi the winner, he danced around the ring, mocking his defeated opponent.

An event employee quickly wiped Mr. Ismail's blood off the mat with a white towel. It was time for the next bout.

Edited by nfc90210
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An Associated Press article that ran in The Tuscaloosa News on February 20, 1997. The article is about an Alabama State Senator (a gentleman named Chip Bailey) attempting to ban MMA. It is dated thirteen days after UFC 12 took place in Dothan - UFC 12 being the event that was moved from New York to Alabama at the last minute due to issues with sanctioning in New York.

Transcribed from Google News. So, typos will be down to me and not the good people at the A.P.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Wc ... ting&hl=en

February 20, 1997

State senator is seek ban on ultimate fighting bouts

By Phillips Rawls
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY The 2 million viewers who watched the Ultimate Fighting Championship from Alabama wont ever see an encore if a state senator wins a battle in the Legislature.

Sen. Chip Bailey, D-Dothan, has introduced legislation to ban ultimate fighting statewide. If his bill passes, Alabama would join Illinois and Missouri in prohibiting the bare-knuckled events.

Baileys hometown of Dothan hosted a pay-per-view broadcast of the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Feb 7. It filled the 2,600-seat civic center and was seen by 2 million people in all 50 states and 31 countries, the promoter said.

To me it is offensive personally and I found it was offensive to a lot of people in this region and did not present a positive image of this area to the rest of the country, Bailey said.

Baileys bill scheduled for consideration today by a legislative committee he heads would send anyone involved in ultimate fighting promoters, fighters and employees at the events to jail for up to a year and fine them twice the profits they make.

Very little is off limits to ultimate fighters, who compete in combat thats a mix of martial arts, wrestling, boxing and street fighting. In terms of protective gear, they only have mouthpieces and groin protectors.

Their actions in the ring can be anything except biting, eye-gouging and kicking above the shoulders or below the knees. Choking is permitted, and they dont have to stop their attacks when their opponents go down.

Promoters moved the Feb. 7 bout from Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Dothan after the New York Athletic Commission passed rules that prohibit striking a fighter who is down and that require combatants to wear head gear, boxing gloves and groin protectors.

David Isaacs, chief operating officer for New York based SEG Sports Corp. that promoted the bout in Dothan, said it is a question of freedom of choice. I think the citizens of Alabama have the right to attend or not attend one of these sporting events.

Isaacs said his company does not have any future bouts set in Alabama, but he questioned whether Bailey or Senate supporters of his legislation have seen the event or spoken to their constituents.

I dont hear any public outcry, Isaacs said. I just see the arena filled to capacity with cheering fans.

Bailey said he had never attended ultimate fighting but said he had seen video coverage of it.

The goal is not to so much as to project skill in the event but only to see how much damage you can do to your opponent, he said. To me it sends a bad message.

A co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn, said he had never heard of ultimate fighting before he received telephone calls from constituents following the event in Dothan.

It just seems like if you are going to have human beings cockfighting there needs to be rules and regulations and standards. I think the state of Alabama ought to take a stand, he said.

Baileys bill would still allow boxing, sparring, wrestling or martial arts events that are sanctioned by one of a dozen organizations listed in the legislation. But all other combative events would be barred.

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An editorial from The Tuscaloosa News which ran on February 21, 1997 and strongly backs state senator Chip Bailey's attempt to ban MMA. The editorial states that deaths had occurred at MMA events in Alabama. This isn't true. I suspect that when they make that statement they are mixing up MMA events and toughman contests.

Anyway, In 1997 The Tuscaloosa News really, really didn't like MMA.

Transcribed from Google News. So, typos will be down to me and not the good people at the The Tuscaloosa News

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Ws ... ting&hl=en

February 21, 1997

Ultimate nonsense

Chip Baileys bill to ban ultimate fighting in Alabama is sensible and humane, though those may not be selling points in Montgomery.

But the senator from Dothan, the town that hosted an ultimate fighting event on Feb. 7, was chagrined enough by the barbarity of what occurred in his hometown that night that he has filed his bill anyway. Good for him.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship that was held before 2,600 spectators in the Dothan civic center was seen via television by 2 million people in all 50 states and in 31 foreign countries. Thats what the promoter says, but who knows for sure.

What is known is that the event and others like it that have been held in Alabama are blights upon our state, and ought to be banned. Promoters and other proponents proudly point to the packed house as reason to continue the sport. But the macabre tastes of the fans have little bearing on an events legitimacy. Had a train wreck occurred in Dothan that night, as many people might have shown up to view the bloody aftermath.

Whats known, too, is that similar events in Alabama in recent years have resulted in deaths, too high a price to pay satisfy the strange entertainment needs of some people.

Baileys bill would criminalize ultimate fighting in the state, with jail time and fines for participants. But if it simply bans such events here, that would be enough.

The Feb. 7 event initially was scheduled for Niagara Falls, N.Y., but was moved after the New York Athletic Commission attempted to initiate rules to protect the combatants. Low blow, promoters responded. That would have undercut the purity of ultimate fighting, which permits participants to wear mouthpieces and groin protectors but which frowns on such sissy rules as not hitting a man when hes down.

Right now, Missouri and Illinois also forbid ultimate fighting by law, but Bailey said that most other states, including most Southern states, prohibit it through their athletic commissions. Alabamas boxing and wrestling commission which was created in 1939, fell victim to sunset provisions in the 1970s when its three members, appointed by the governor, didn't exercise much zeal for regulating, said Bill Stewart, a University of Alabama professor and an expert on Alabama government. Stewart said Thursday that he could think of no other existing regulatory body in Alabama that could address such issues.

Bailey said he would consider backing the creation of a new athletic commission to regulate sports events; the lack of an athletic commission prevented the state from keeping the event out of Dothan.

For now, he just wants to ban this deadly nuisance of ultimate fighting, which he likened to dog fighting or cockfights involving humans, from the state.

His position is well taken, and serves support.

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A February 21, 1997 article form the Times Daily, another Alabama newspaper. It is about how the mayor of Dothan (Alfred Saliba) was opposed to Chip Bailey's bill to ban MMA. He seemed to be of the opinion that it was unnecessary and that Chip had more pressing issues he should be dealing with.

Transcribed from Google News. So, typos will be down to me.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=11 ... iley&hl=en

Times Daily - Feb 21, 1997

Mayor opposing bill to outlaw ultimate fighting

Dothan Mayor Alfred Saliba said he sees no reason for a state senator's bill to ban ultimate fighting events like the Dothan Civic Center presented on Feb. 7.

Sen. Chip Bailey, D-Dothan, is sponsoring legislation to ban the bloody contests not only from Dothan but from the entire state.

It seems to be this is a knee-jerk reaction to a single incident, Saliba said. He suggested that Bailey spend his time pushing a $700 million highway bond issue that would help Dothan.

Bailey said the pay-per-view event, seen by 2 million people worldwide, caused negative publicity for Dothan, I've received more calls about this one issue than any other from the people of Dothan, he said.

But Dothan Rep. Joe Carothers said he hadn't received any calls about the event.

Baileys bill is scheduled for consideration Wednesday by a Senate committee he heads.

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