Sherwood's Memories From The Vault
The event was Neutral
Grounds 13, held on a small Indian reservation in Lakeside,
What was special about this event? It was the first official mixed
martial arts show that Sherdog.com was ever credentialed for. I had
been to events before -- such as Kage Kombat in San Pedro, where I
watched a couple of young Armenians by the names of Manny
Gamburyan and Karo
Parisyan -- but this was different.
I was so excited to be covering my first show that I made about six
of my buddies buy tickets. It was a very cold night, and the cage
was set up in the middle of a baseball field on the Barona Indian
Reservation. Promoter Ryan Chenoweth was happy to have me there and
treated me like a king.
My buddy, Chris Foster, and I arrived early, so we began to walk
around and talk to the fighters. The first fighter we walked up to
Horn. At that time, Horn already had 35 wins on his resume and
had fought in the UFC five times. I was amazed at how friendly he
was as he sat there with his Walkman at his side.
Horn was in the main event that evening, fighting the big, strong
Marsh. Despite being beaten up by Marsh, Horn was given the
judges’ decision, which did not sit well with the crowd.
This being a small event, there were some complications which
dragged the show out for hours longer than scheduled. It was so
cold outside that, after a certain point, you couldn’t find a cup
of anything warm, and Tapout -- the only vendor there selling
merchandise -- was completely sold out of hoodies. Luckily, I had
already met Tapout’s Charles “Mask” Lewis, and he walked over to my
spot during the show to hand me a black Tapout hoodie, as well as
the now-famous red Tapout baseball cap.
This card was filled with fighters who would go on to make their
marks on MMA, and some who are still making them -- guys like
McKee, John Alessio,
Strasser and Toby Imada.
There was also a friend of mine from high school, Jason
Dallas, competing on the card. I had no idea that he was even a
fighter. He took on Steve Heath
and was able to win by TKO due to doctor stoppage. Dallas was also
Melendez’s high school wrestling coach.
It was a great show, and one that helped build that fire in me
which made me want to cover this sport, and to continue working on
Sherdog.com. Take a look at the fight card from that evening, and
remember it next time you hear of a small show in your city or
town. Make sure you buy a ticket, because you never know what
future star you could see fighting that night.
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