Seasons Beatings" is a popular, catchy fight card name used across the nation around the holidays. Good thing no trademark infringements have been filed. A lot of promotions would be forced into a creative tizzy.
There is no comparable go-to label for the summer. The WWE has the best effort with their yearly "Summer Slam." You can bet your WWE replica gold belt Vince McMahon would sue the pants off any local promoter (or even his wife) if they used his moniker.
The reason may be simple. MMA promotions are following the lead of the UFC. Instead of using names like "Invasion" or "Hardcore" they are allowing the athletes' names to be the selling point.
It is much easier when you take a well-known superstar and plaster their face across the promotional artwork.
What if you don't have a superstar to bank on? Well, you might need to upgrade your promotion. Or at the very least, add one of these two recognizable Tulsa faces to the mix.
Quick, what comes to mind when you hear someone mention elite standup fighting? More specifically, what places around the globe come to mind?
Your answer was either Holland or Thailand. Thailand is revered for their Muay Thai, while Holland has produced legendary kickboxers.
If you want to test and improve your striking game against the best of the best, you better book a flight.
"I get the call," said light heavyweight kickboxing star and Owasso native Randy Blake. "I am single. I don't have any kids. I don't have anything to hold me back, so I said ok. I hopped on the plane. I spent six weeks (in Holland), and it was some of the best training I've ever had."
For the first time in Blake's career, the entire focus was on his training. He did so at the world renowned Golden Glory gym, which produced the likes of Alistair Overeem, Semmy Schilt, and Ramon Dekkers.
He trained 4-6 hours twice a day at least five days a week. The sparring sessions featured guys his size and equally talented. He learned to incorporate the Dutch style of kickboxing into his already vast repertoire.
On June 22 Blake defeated Koichi Pettas in New York under the "Glory World Series" promotional banner. It was a huge, decisive victory over a world-class opponent.
"Think about the NBA finals or the Super Bowl," said Blake, trying to explain how big the Glory stage is to non-combat sports fans. "You have the best of the best. Everyone is a world champion. Everyone is a champion at some point or in some league. We are all just getting together to see who is the best that night or of that year."
Blake takes on Brian "The Lion" Collette in Los Angeles on September 28. Collette made the finals of the "Road to Glory" tournament held in Tulsa. He produced the night's biggest and baddest highlights.
Blake will need every ounce of skill and heart from his years of training in order to come out victorious. Just like in the UFC, there are no easy fights when you step in the cage.
"I think I match up well," he said. "You have to believe in the things you can do. At his point in my career I don't care what he can do. The main thing I want to do is put my style on him. He has to worry about me."
Collette may hold the advantage in flashy knockouts, but Blake has the size and skill to overwhelm his opponent. As with most fights between evenly matched warriors it boils down to will. Who will impose theirs?
All fighters come out of retirement -- or at least the ones we care about (Randy Couture, Sugar Ray Leonard, and many others). It is in their blood. Often times it works out for the best. Every once in a while, it is disastrous.
It all depends on the reason for the retirement. Was it an erosion of skill or a lack of opportunities?
A month ago when I spoke with Gerald Harris (21-5), he was a retired fighter. We even joked about fighters always coming out of retirement. And lo and behold, he announced he is back in the game. So what changed?
"I cornered Daniel Roberts against Brian Foster," said Harris. "I can't explain the feeling of cornering someone. I cornered him and the feeling of being backstage, the training camp, warming up."
He started getting back in shape. It was obvious his skill set was still in place, but it was the rekindling of the fire that made him antsy to test himself in the cage once again.
"When I retired I was in a tough place in my life emotionally, physically, and mentally," he said. "A lot of stuff was going on and I didn't want to fight anymore. I didn't care for it."
Upon losing his last bout against tough-as-nails veteran Josh Burkman, he told the powers that be at the World Series of Fighting he was finished.
They held on to his contact and encouraged him to think it over. After his friend and training partner Daniel Roberts left the cage victorious, he texted the WSOF promotion and said he was ready to go to war once again.
They contacted him a week later and offered him a slot on this Saturday's WSOF event on NBC Sports. Jorge Santiago (25-11) is his opponent. He is a very dangerous, well-rounded veteran of the sport.
Training camp is going great. The fire is burning. The worries of his personal life are not creeping into his mindset.
"I know who he is," he said. "We have been doing our homework. We are going to be ready.".
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