Attention fight fans: We are in for a doozy. The fight game produces more trash talk than all other major sports combined.
Most of the time, it is nothing more than attention-grabbing tactics. Promoters, fighters and everyone involved profit from increased interested in the fight.
The Xtreme Fight League excels at filling venues across Tulsa on a regular basis. Their promotion is unmatched in T-Town at this time.
So it was with a bit of consternation that I listened to XFL promoter and legendary kickboxer Dale "Apollo" Cook sell the bout between "Nasty" Nate Orand and Chris "Pretty Boy" Barnes as a "grudge" match.
Rewind: On July 25, the two mixed martial artists fought to a decision on a XFL card. Controversy was abound. Barnes won a close decision, but the fight was just beginning.
"I just thought he was a sore loser," Barnes said. "He was telling people I had Vaseline all over me. There are two people that check you before you even go in the ring. It's pretty much impossible."
Barnes record is unspectacular. The victory over Orand was by far his biggest to date. "Nasty" Nate felt the fight was unfair.
"In the first fight he felt a little oily on his neck and arms," Orand said. "I was upset about that. The people I told didn't handle that right which was really no excuse to lose the fight."
Orand was coming off a knee surgery. He admits to taking Barnes too lightly in their first tilt. His plan was to knock a little ring-rust off, but Barnes proved to be tougher than he anticipated.
The debate does not stop there. During a hotly contested first round, Orand tagged Barnes with a low blow causing him to drop his hands for a moment.
As the referee moved in to give Barnes a break, Orand connected with a right that almost knocked Barnes unconscious.
"He should have known I was sitting there and got cheap shotted," Barnes said. "He took like three steps before he hit me."
It was a questionable sequence. Should Orand have been disqualified? Should a point have been deducted? Or should Barnes have kept his guard up until the ref was in place to stop the action?
After the decision was rendered, after accusations of foul play were bandied about, they were still quibbling over the judges' scorecards.
Barnes secured several takedowns and remained in top position. However, Orand attempted more submissions. Needless to say, neither wants the judges to have a say in the outcome this time around.
"If you talk to the actual people who know about MMA and the professional fighters, nine out of ten of them will tell you I won that fight," said Orand said.
MMA judging is a work in progress at all levels to be sure. Orand feels the judges are not well-versed enough to understand the intricacies of the ground game. Many are castoffs from boxing and kickboxing.
"I think it was a close match, but I dominated on the ground the whole time," Barnes said. "I took him down, stayed on top of him. He didn't do anything."
Often times a rematch is a copout. An easy matchup created by the promotion that offers little to either fighter. Not this time.
"I just want to show him I can beat him twice," said Barnes. "That way there is no more talk about 'could have' and 'should have.' They only gave me a week to train and fight him last time, but now I have time to train. Let's see who's going to come out the winner this time."
The outpouring of support from Tulsa gyms for Barnes has been astounding. Triton Fight Center and Team Nogueira's have welcomed him with open arms.
Meanwhile, Orand is focused on this fight. He trains rising MMA contender Trey Houston and many other Apollo's fighters. This time he is receiving the attention.
"I'm training with Mark Wayne Mullin and Mikey Burnett at Oklahoma Fight Club," Orand said. "Mr. Cook is personally doing my kickboxing. I go to Texas and work with Carlos Machado and Thomas Longacre. I'm training quite a bit."
The "Fall Brawl" outdoor event takes place at Hooters, 61st and Memorial. It is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24 at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling 627-7070.
In a lot of ways, a parking lot is exactly where this fight needs to take place.
"I want to go out there and knock him out," Barnes said before he reconsidered. "I want to submit him too because he's a jujitsu guy and it would make him look really bad."
"Nasty" Nate hopes to prove his nickname accurate.
"I'd like to see the end of the fight come with me on top of him, beating him half-to-death, the ref pulling me off and me getting suspended for unnecessary roughness," Orand said.
Most of the vitriol is for Barnes' supporters. They have joked, played, clowned and generally gotten under Orand's skin. He hopes a convincing win shuts them up and earns him a dose of respect.
"Let's say I get a guy in an armbar. Usually if he taps, I'll go ahead and let go before the ref gets over there and give him some respect and try not to hurt him. This one? I'm taking the arm home with me. The ref is going to have to come over there and manually pull me off."
Tulsa favorites Levi "The Marine" Avera and Josh "The Platypus" Pulsifer highlight the evening.
But let's be honest. The "grudge" match, scenery and flowing wings are the main attractions.
Hoots with me?
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