POSTED ON NOVEMBER 5, 2008:
The X-treme Fighting League returns with the area's brightest stars
Big Boom Theory. “I started when I was seven. I watched a movie called Bloodsport. It has Jean-Claude Van Damme in it and I thought I wanted to kick like that guy,” said Blake (left). Now, JCVD wants to kick like “Boom Boom,” a nickname Blake earned after his first fight in the World Combat League.
Dim lighting sets the mood in the arena. A drunken murmur fills the air but is soon drowned out by the fighter's song of choice.
The crowd stirs as the fighters circle the cage and begin the stare down. The announcer introduces the warriors and the ref gives the final instructions. Touch gloves and keep it clean.
They head back to their respective corners for last minute coaching and motivation. The bell rings and the mind games begin.
They circle, throwing jabs and leg kicks. So far, nothing with ill intent. Just a feeling out process like the first pitch in a baseball game. Timing is everything.
Boom. Boom. It's over.
Randy Blake earned the nickname "Boom Boom" after his first fight in the World Combat League. He was an alternate, which means he was not sure whether he would be called upon to battle when headed into the evening.
At the last minute, they matched him up against an experienced fighter. Blake is only 21 years old. It was his first televised fight and third overall. A couple of back trust kicks later and his opponent doubled over, grasping for air and a new set of ribs.
Blake grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and got the mixed martial arts fever at a young age.
"I started when I was seven. I watched a movie called Bloodsport. It has Jean-Claude Van Damme in it and I thought I wanted to kick like that guy," said Blake. Now, JCVD wants to kick like "Boom Boom."
His mother gave him a punch/kick bag for Christmas later that year. He kicked the bag so hard she realized she better find him a karate school.
When his family relocated to Oklahoma he gave up karate. There was no way he would find a school like the one in Cleveland.
Mom wanted to get his younger brother, Gerald, into karate. They passed the Apollo's Karate billboard on Highway 169. A year later, Gerald's progression under Mr. Cook piqued Randy's interest again.
"Just watching him I had to get back into it," said Randy. He joined and earned his first black belt when he was 16.
Now he focuses his training on kickboxing, boxing and jujitsu. There are no immediate plans to fight MMA matches but he doesn't rule them out for the future. "Right now I just love getting in there and kicking people," he said with a smile.
This Saturday the X-treme Fighting League returns. The XFL card takes place at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, OK.
Some of the areas brightest stars are on the fight card. Blake battles in a kickboxing match. His opponent was unknown at the time of the interview but Randy promised me one thing. "He's in for a war. Every guy that I fight will not be a bum," he said.
Thomas "Thunderkick" Longacre and Jeri "Fist of Fury" Sites are both members of the Oklahoma Destroyers. They make their debuts in the realm of MMA this Saturday night. The standup fight specialists are adding the ground game to their arsenals.
Once again, Dale "Apollo" Cook is bringing in a legend. This time, Frank Shamrock graces the city with his presence. The legend almost fought Kimbo Slice in the last (and final) EliteXC card on CBS.
Call 627-7070 for ticket information.
Everyone I spoke with on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend shared the same sentiment. Many are OU or OSU fans. None were excited about TU losing to the Hogs.
It's like rooting for the underdog in a movie. You may not enjoy the movie but you want the good guy to prevail. Once the movie is over you probably won't be purchasing it for additional viewing but while it's on, you enjoy it.
Sure the Golden Hurricane was a touchdown favorite. Football experts still weren't buying the TU express. Now, you can just hear them whispering, "You see what happens when they play a real team."
The 8-1 record is nothing to sneeze at. They play C-USA foes the rest of the way. They'll pile up some impressive numbers along the way. A C-USA championship is still within their grasp.
Just be thankful TU didn't suffer a blow-out, Hawaii-style loss in a BCS tilt.
The big game this week? How about OSU battling the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The game may last five hours. The nation's eyes will once again look upon the Cowboys with interest.
This is the type of game that can catapult the Pokes into the upper echelon of college football. Texas Tech, coming off an emotional win against an intrastate rival, could be due for a letdown.
Can Mike Gundy have his troops ready to capitalize and throw the BCS into further turmoil? Can OSU make it 2 out of 3 against top-five opponents on the road this year?
Kickoff is set for primetime. ABC broadcasts the game of the week.
Hang in there. It's almost turkey time.
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