The first rule of fight club…

The first rule of fight club…
“Who you were in the fight club is not who you were in the rest of the world.” A quote from the movie “Fight Club” can relate a lot to how mixed martial arts fighters can be viewed. Who you were in the cage is not who you were in the rest of the world. On Friday night, Feb. 8, an MMA promotion called Showdown Fights came to the UCCU Center. It was their tenth time at the venue, and fans from all over Utah came to see the event. The music was blaring, and the crowd was filing in as the first fight of the night ended in a technical knockout; Kani Correa (170 lbs) took out local Joe Lakhani (170) in the second round by beating him down until a referee pulled him away. Audience members in the crowd screamed and shouted at what took place, and the fights were only getting started.

The second bout of the night featured a Utah native, William Nau (185), who had not been in the cage for three years, against Clinton Williams (185). William Nau controlled most of the fight, going the distance of three five-minute rounds to receive the unanimous decision from the judges over Williams.

“That was a big fight for me,” Nau said. “I watched his films so I had a good advantage. I think that advantage helped me big time because he had nothing on me.”

Although Nau didn’t win the fight by knockout or even technical knockout, he was able to draw some blood from his opponent, but that just comes with the territory.

“Man, this isn’t barbaric,” Nau said. “People see what they only choose to see. They don’t see that if fighters weren’t doing this, they probably would end up in jail.”

There is something to be said about the possible roads that these fighters could have taken. Nau wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Middleweight fighter Jarome Hatch (185) expressed similar sentiments after his victory over Josh VanderVeur (185).

“This sport means a lot to me,” Hatch said. “I love to fight. It keeps me out of trouble. I used to be a short fuse. The sport teaches you so much about relaxing. A lot of people just don’t understand.”

As Hatch made his way to the cage, the crowd was on their feet, cheering and clapping for the Orem-native fighter. The crowd stayed on top of their feet throughout the match, considering it didn’t make it past the first round as Hatch pounded on VanderVeur for the TKO victory. Hatch mounted the cage and saluted his fans before the official announcement of his win.

“I have a big following,” Hatch said. “I love every single one of them. You know what the best part about the fighting is? It’s walking out and hearing everybody. It’s unreal.”

Just like “Fight Club,” there are rules to the sport. The fighters can’t hit each other in the groin, the back of the head, spine or gauge their eyes. All three of those rules are to protect the fighters from any serious injury. There is a full list of fouls all fighters are expected to follow. There is even medical staff on sight in case there is a serious issue with one of the fighters. Mike Gahan (145) won his bout against Lance Gorman (145) but was immediately taken to the hospital to treat an undisclosed injury to his nose.

On the opposite side though, there is a loser who is battered and bruised from the defeat. In the main event, two local favorites took center stage as lightweight fighters Clay Collard (155) and Jordan Clements (155) battled it out inside the cage. The end of the fight took place on the ground as Collard hammered down on Clements with elbows, forearms, and fists while Clements spat up blood the entire time, trying to protect himself but not succeeding. Yet the sportsmanship after the fight was what had the crowd on their feet. Both Collard and Clements embraced after they announced the winner, which exemplified what the sport is truly all about.

“It’s not barbaric. It’s a sport,” Hatch said.

Alex Rivera is the Sports Editor for the UVU Review. You can contact him at arivera.2011@hotmail.com or through his Twitter account @HashtagginAlex

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