The modern-day equivalent of a gladiator death match at the Coliseum was held Saturday night at the Sun Dome. The World Fighting Championship (WFC) Battle in the Bay presented fans with a high-energy, fast-paced display of violence and skill, served up in a six-sided cage.
The fighters that competed in the Battle in the Bay were masters of Muy Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing – just to name a few. The competition is hindered by very few rules. Small joint holds – like breaking someone’s finger – are not allowed. Neither is punching someone in the back of the head, or kicking or kneeing someone in the head while he or she – yes, there was a girl fight – is on the ground. There’s no eye-gouging and no fishhooking, but beyond this short list of rules, anything goes.
In mixed martial arts, unlike boxing, there’s no 10-count when a fighter is knocked down. Fights are won by knockout or submission. Until one of the fighters is physically unable to continue, the fight goes on.
The referees on staff Saturday performed their job of looking out for the fighters’ safety – even at the risk of being unpopular with the crowd, which was in an advanced state of drunken bloodlust.
Most of the fights lasted only a couple of minutes, and it was rare to see a second round. Every few minutes someone was being choked or knocked unconscious, then a few scantily clad ladies would hop in the ring to take a picture with the victor, then the next set of fighters would make their entrance to the sound of death metal.
One guy even came in singing “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin, but was then disqualified for throwing a knee to his opponent’s face while the latter was on the ground.
The only severe disappointment came at the end of the evening, in the first round of Waachim Spirit Wolf versus Danny Ruiz. It looked like a promising matchup. Spirit Wolf is 5-foot-6,” and 170 pounds of pure muscle, and Ruiz is tall and lean, at 5-foot-11″ and the same weight. One or two minutes into the fight, the stage lights died. In the ensuing darkness – and chaos – Ruiz got punched in the face. He seemed less upset about getting punched in the dark by a martial arts master than most people would’ve, but it was a shame to see a fight get flawed like that.
Technical problems aside, it was an enjoyable evening for everyone involved – everyone who didn’t get kicked or choked unconscious, that is. The WFC will be back at the Sun Dome in May, and fans of violent sports will feel right at home.