Blood, bruises and hard hits at MetroCentre Jan. 19

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116966758617991.jpg’, ‘Photo by Doug Halberstadt’, ‘Clay French is named the new title holder of the King of the Cage.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116966761921786.jpg’, ‘Photo by Doug Halberstadt’, ‘The King of the Cage championship belt.‘);

There was some extremely hard hitting done at the MetroCentre last Friday night, Jan. 19. No, this isn’t another story about an IceHogs versus Mallards hockey game. It’s not even a story about the Rock River Raptors football team. This story is about something way more violent and a heck of a lot fiercer.

The contestants weren’t even wearing helmets or shoulder pads. The only protection provided was a small pair of open-fingered, padded gloves.

I’m talking about an event called Hard Knocks presented by King of the Cage. It is a combination of mixed martial arts, boxing and wrestling, all inside an octagon-shaped, fenced-in ring.

The card featured two amateur bouts. Those matches were three 3-minute rounds. The main card had another six fights, each made of two 5-minute rounds. The three main events were three 5-minute rounds a piece. If the fighters were able to last the entire time without being knocked out or forced into a submission hold, they beat the daylights out of one another the entire time.

Many fighters walked away with some seriously bloody cuts, and one or more guys ended up with broken or dislocated noses. I’ve been to several Tough Man events, and I have to say these guys made that look like a walk in the park. The only real rule was no elbowing. Other than that, punching, kicking, foot-stomping, chokeholds, etc., were all good. That is, if you are the one giving, not getting.

One of the main event fights was for the 155-pound King of the Cage title and the World Championship Belt. It featured the current champion Mac Danzig from Los Angeles, going against challenger Clay French from Mattoon, Ill. French, who is the wrestling coach from Eastern Illinois University, ended up taking the title from Danzig in a split decision. Both combatants came away with blood and bruises for their efforts. French also got to take home the belt as the new champion.

For those who may have missed it last week, no need to worry. The top three fights will air on a Pay-Per-View special in May, and the entire night’s action will be available on DVD beginning June 15.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Jan. 24-30, 2007, issue

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