From Tony Sciore:
Always have a backup plan. It’s sound advice and something Marcello Foran and the Ultimate Warrior Challenge (UWC) practice, which saved their fifth show in Fairfax, Virginia last night. The event was put in jeopardy when headliner Chase Beebe inexplicably missed his plane from Illinois two days prior, triggering a truck load of calls and texts to find out where he was. Beebe told his coach, Marc Fiore of Matt Hughes’ HIT Squad that he had a knee injury and couldn’t make weight so he missed the plane on purpose. “This makes all of us look bad,” Fiore said. “It makes me look bad. It makes Matt Hughes look bad. It makes our gym look bad. It just isn’t good business.”
Luckily an adaptable staff and a phone call from Hughes saved the day. Justin Robbins stepped up to the plate, took the fight on less than forty-eight hours notice, and got from Illinois to Virginia in a hurry. Robbins is to be commended for his dedication to his team, but his lack of prep time was apparent in his title fight against hometown favorite Mike “The Hulk” Easton. Fighting for the UWC’s bantamweight belt, Easton came out firing and repeatedly battered Robbins’ legs with kicks and stalked him around the cage for two rounds. Robbins effective counterstrikes kept Easton at bay, but it was only a matter of time before “The Hulk” smashed. In the third round Easton got the fight to the ground and locked in a guillotine choke that Robbins couldn’t escape from.
The tap out put a cap on an exciting night of fights that started with another submission by Kris McCray of Woodbridge, Virginia. McCray dominated Manny Okorie from Lloyd Irvin’s camp, finishing him with a rear naked choke in the first round. After that things only got better. Two close fights followed as Kyle Baker and Levon Maynard staged a slugfest for nearly eight minutes before Baker got the TKO. Women’s action picked up where those two left off as Iman Acchal out-wrestled Felice Herrig for a split decision win. Cody Donovan of Greg Jackson’s MMA had little trouble with John Doyle, dispensing him in the first round by TKO and then Ron Stallings knocked out Whisper Goodman with a devastating knee. Goodman was motionless for several minutes while his coach, Matt Hughes, watched the doctors revive him.
The main card showcased a mix of local talent and national names, but wasn’t void of controversy. Richie Hightower, alum of The Ultimate Fighter, took on Marcus Foran of Jackson’s MMA, but the bout ended early when Hightower elbowed Foran in the back of the head and crumpled the New Mexico fighter. After a few minutes of discussion the referee decided the strike was unintentional and ruled the bout a no-contest. I still have no idea how a strike can be unintentional if it was purposely thrown, but the ruling was probably correct. The crowd was unruly, but only until the mighty mites charged it back up. Flyweights John Dodson and Jose Villarisco put on a striking clinic. Making his MMA debut Villarisco showed he has all the tools to be successful in MMA. His flying knee to Dodson’s midsection in the last round nearly ended the fight, but Dodson made it to the end and got the decision despite practically running away from Villarisco for half the fight.
Don’t blink. Here comes Jamal Patterson and there goes Antwain Britt. It only took forty-four seconds for “The Suit” to get his patented guillotine choke on Britt and end the fight. Good thing I didn’t head to the bathroom at that moment. Finally the headliners ended the night and afterward Easton called out Beebe. “If he wants to fight in Japan instead of here, then that’s his thing,” Easton said. “You go do your thing, Chase and I’ll be here when you’re ready.”
Easton referred to the rumor that Beebe faked his injury to skip this fight in order to compete in the Dream featherweight tournament in March. If that were true it has to be one of the most ill-advised moves in the history of MMA. Passing up a headlining show being streamed live on Sherdog is not only foolish from a marketing standpoint, but from a financial and legal one as well. If Beebe had been present at the weigh-ins with a legitimate injury then there would be no repercussions. But failing to show up at all opens him up to legal action, fines, revocation of his license, banishment from Team Hughes, and a plethora of criticism from his peers in the industry. In a sport where tough is common, respect is crucial. Beebe lost most of his by ducking the fight, so trusting him in the future is something most organizations need to seriously consider before signing him. My advice-have a backup plan.