Monday, June 27, 2011

You see them on the street, but....

One of the more interesting things of my immersion into mixed martial arts is finding out how deep the Maryland MMA scene is connected to the national stage in organizations like the UFC. It's also interesting to find out that there may be more to the people you see in the office every day than meets the eye, to borrow a terrible cliché from Transformers.

Apparently UFC heavyweight Christian Morecraft is a native of Prince George's County. The story doesn't say where in PG Morecraft hails from and I distinctly remember watching a replay of his fight against Stefan Struve and hearing him described as a native of the New England MMA scene. However, fighters often travel to areas outside of their hometown in order to train and join a camp.

Unfortunately, Morecraft found himself on the wrong end of a wicked knockout from Matt Mitrione (the weird guy from Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter" who claimed to hear voices) last night at the "UFC Live" event in Pittsburgh. If it wasn't for Cheick Kongo's insane comeback and knockout of Pat Barry last night, Morecraft would have been involved in the "Knockout of the Night" for all the wrong reasons.

But while Morecraft is still finding his way, Mike Young, a junior league wrestling coach from Dundalk, won his second MMA fight earlier this month in Delaware. The MMA world is rife with fighters with unique day jobs, mostly famously Rich Franklin in the UFC, whose story of being a math teacher before becoming one of the more prominent fighters in recent UFC history is well-known.

There's a feeling throughout society that people you pass just walking down the street may have an amazing, interesting (or sinister) story that you would have no idea about just by looking at them. In the case of Young and Rich Franklin, the teachers and coaches who look after your kid at school may enjoy beating up guys on the weekends. You just don't know.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A triumphant return

It's been almost a month since my last post, but quitting one job and starting another will do that. It's been a whirlwind the last 3-4 weeks, but at least now I've built a bank of things to write about.

I figured there was no better way to do that than to highlight some posts from my contemporary in all things mixed martial arts, Kevin Richardson at The Baltimore Sun. Kevin wrote on his MMA blog recently that the UFC came to Maryland recently for I believe the first time with its "Octagon Nation Tour". Kevin's posts previewing the event can be found here and here.

The tour stopped at Dick's Sporting Goods in Columbia, according to Kevin's blog. UFC fans had the chance to meet local hero Zach Davis from Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg (for those living under a rock, Zach was a competitor on the most recent season of "The Ultimate Fighter") as well as Mackens Semerzier.

One can only hope that the tour stop that featured fan exhibitions (including a video game station, who doesn't love those?) will lead to an eventual UFC card making its way to our fair state. I'm confident a large contingent of fans showed up at the event and let the UFC now that it's about time they brought a show here. UFC events in nearby Virginia and Pennsylvania have done well. It's time for the UFC to make its mark here.