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December 20, 2014

Titan FC 32: Our view from the couch

View of the cage from Tsongas Center in Lowell, MA Dec.19, 2014

brought their thirty-second MMA event to the masses on a frosty Friday night in the city of Lowell, MA.  If you were the friend of  a fighter on the card you may have endured the painstaking drive up the regularly log jammed Route 495 at the start of the holiday week leading into Christmas.  Most folks however seemed to be taking advantage of the off-site viewing options as was the case with my motley crew here at

FB post courtesy of Johnny Campbell
City Boy hosted and Warchild made the trek across town to catch the undercard at 8pm streaming on CBSsports while I was busy finishing up my day job as custodian extraordinaire a town away.  With a fight falling off the card the undercard wasn't lengthy at only two bouts.   John Ortolani was deprived of a match, but hopefully not a pay check, as Nick Drummond made himself ill while attempting to make weight.  We always hate to hear of this happening to anyone especially one of our own local men.  Nick is from a great outfit at Wai Kru and I'll bet he's going to be alright as soon as he's re-hydrated and packed on a few pounds.  Ortolani fights out of Triumph in New Hampshire and has plenty of opportunities coming his way so it won't be long until we see him in the cage once again. One thing worth mentioning here is the fact that the stream was good looking in terms of definition, but the stream itself was quite temperamental and  frequently dropped out.  City Boy counted as many as thirty refreshes in the 60 min period.  For those wondering if perhaps it was his service I can assure you Comcast makes sure he never has an issue with bandwidth.  At the price tier he subscribes to they nearly dedicate a fiber just for his house.  LOL, those of you who know the man know that I'm only slightly exaggerating.  Johnny Cupcakes was disappointed with the reading of the official decision that we all were given as it named his opponent as the official victor in a 3 round fight that went to the judges.  Afterward Cupcakes went to the Facebook to make sure that everyone supporting him knew that the announcement was in err and that he in fact had won the judges decision.  The correction was made in the locker rooms and never made public by the Titan FC commentators or the event MC at any point afterward.  SSF coach and veteran fighter, Bill Mahoney, also took to the Facepages and made some suggestions to the Titan FC upper crust, but I will leave that for you all to seek out on your own.  Congrats to Johnny on his win even if there was only a handful of people in the house to see you work.

Our friend Stephanie (Left) and "Mom" Green (Right)
showing off Desmond Green's Hardware.
I joined the fun at 9 just as the main card was beginning.  Imagine my surprise when I sat down in my comfy leather seat and up on the 60" flat screen there was an empty arena with a cage in it in crystal clear HD on CBS Sports Net.  City Boy caught me up on a few things and then we got word that there were possibly two hundred people in the seats there, if that.  One die hard fan who is nearly at as many events as us didn't shy away from the drive and was seen proudly posing with Des Green's mom after the event.  I love strong women and women that support MMA. Desmond Green's mom must be the strongest fight mom on the planet today.  Look at all that hardware.  And Stephanie, our wonderful friend, we'll see you around a cage in 2015 so be well until then.

Earlier in December I happened to be fortunate enough to film the MSAC meeting where TitanFC CEO and Promoter Jeff Aronson was given his promoters license and the Titan FC 32 event was given the green light.  The commissioners were very impressed with Jeff's credentials and history as well as having a great matchmaker in Joe Wooster.  Wooster has a decade of cards on his resume and Friday's event added another to the list.  Some folks who viewed the event in one way or another have argued that the card lacked substance or intensity, but that can hardly be the fault of either the promoter or matchmaker.  Both men derive great pleasure from highlight reel KO's and limb removing submissions.  There is only one place we can all look when a card fails to deliver that action and that is to the men in the cage.  The fighters we saw attempting to further their relatively young fight careers were mostly locals.  New Englander's got the lion's share of the cage time on this one and yet we failed to see anything remotely satisfying.  One fight out of 7 was a decisive victory ending via submission and unfortunately for us it was an out of towner beating out our guy.  Milan Zerjal out of Xtreme Couture put a RNC on ATT's Ryan Quinn.
I'd like to hear from the fighters to get a sense of how the empty arena influenced their overall performances.  The commentary provided by Jorge Rivera and guest was at times very hard to listen to for a number of reasons.  The major turn off for me was the repetitious statements about how Titan FC is known for having large amounts of finishes and yet there was only one finish in seven matches.  At times it seemed that Jorge would ask a question of his guest such as "How impactful (not actually a word) is it when a fighter takes his opponent to the ground?" after we just endured three fights and nine straight rounds of exactly that.  The guest was about as interested in that type of question as we were in getting his insight on such a topic.  Here is my answer to that question. "Fighters aren't looking to make an impact on their opponent by simply lying on them for 5 minutes at a time.  They are looking to win a fight without taking damage. In an empty room does anyone care if the fighter is being exciting and taking risks or not?"  Someone should have tried to remind the fighters that a spot on mainstream prime time television is better than no audience at all even if you can't see them.  If you are in there banging and putting it all on the line than that fan who just flipped through between commercials during Pawn Stars is probably going to stay there and watch as you light up the guy across from you.  Make the best out of it.
I've had the privileged of filming Desmond Green over the years.  His fights are usually a big deal, but in recent matches he hasn't been the kind of fighter that people can get excited about.  One reason in my opinion is that he is such an aware fighter.  He adjusts his intensity at every moment in a match and is a master of remaining calm and collected.  He reads an opponent in a round or two and if he can get a way with it he will just coast, but not in a way that is quitting.  He is a degree above most athletes his age and light years ahead of other pros trying to break into the Featherweight class locally due to his manager's ability to get him bookings on cards both locally and nationally.  Once Des found his comfort zone last night there was nearly no way for his opponent to alter the course of the match.  It was for all intents and purposes a very boring fight with seemingly constant low blow fouls or long stretches of Des controlling Siler's back from standing and landing countless knees to the backside of Siler's legs and glutes.  Problems arose early in the match with fouling kicks forcing major breaks in what little action the viewers where enjoying.  Both men had a lot of careless kicks and knee strikes and Siler was penalized a point on his third infraction.  At foul number six it was all I could do to sit through the remaining moments of the match.  Ref Gary Foreman probably had to pinch himself a few times to stay awake or to convince himself he was really in the cage with two veteran fighters.  At one point Siler fouled Green and tried to plead with Ref Foreman that it wasn't intentional.  Which to be fare it didn't look intentional, but the ref had already warned him twice and that was that.  Like I said Des is a cut above most, but what is that going to do for him if he fails to also be an entertainer?  It is something he should think about because in the future regardless of how many belts he has the bigger promotions may pass him by for someone like Ruslan Khubejashvili, a man who takes great pride in the art of fighting and keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Hats off to Jeff Aronson, Joe Wooster, and CBS Sports Net.  I thoroughly enjoyed the broadcast quality, the elements in the production that gave it that big time feel (like the lighting rig above the cage, the multiple camera angles, the walkout area, and the bumpers between matches), and the ring card girls were sporty and sexy which I happen to think makes the best accompaniment to us fighters in the cage.  I'll hope to talk to Jeff in the week following Christmas and see if there are any hard numbers I can report on such as the size of the television viewing audience, streaming audience, and the actual gate at the arena.