Minute-by-Minute: K-1 Dynamite!! USA
Presuming he's still alive, William Safire would be forced to
agree: the more exclamation points an event has, the more exciting
it promises to be.
K-1's "Dynamite!! USA" extravaganza made a valiant effort in
punctuation, but the end result was something that may go down as
the most schizophrenic, culturally confused fiasco in the sport's
short history. (And I say this with full knowledge of both World
Extreme Catfighting and that one Japanese event that had the
handicapped fighting full contact.)
You'll be spared the requisite "Dynamite fizzles" puns, but little
else. Grab some Tylenol. This one's gonna hurt.
The show opens with a
one-hour Showtime broadcast of three undercard bouts. K-1 has
booked the mammoth Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the
proceedings, which is roughly as optimistic as dating Madonna and
not bothering with antibiotics.
The shapely ring girls make a
valiant effort to dance in sync with Green Day's "Boulevard of
Broken Dreams," a song that doesn't exactly promote lurid movement
of the hips.
The camera dares to pan over
for a crowd shot, which is predictably sparse. Journalist Dave
Meltzer estimates a crowd of 8,000 at the outset, though K-1
mouthpieces had previously claimed a paid attendance of 40,000.
Only if they're all pregnant. With twins.
"Yo, yo, yo, and away we go,"
bleats play-by-play announcer Mauro Renallo, immediately reminding
everyone why he's best left to broadcasting from abandoned
warehouses with no electricity.
Renallo refers to the crowd
as an "ocean of humanity." More like a puddle.
(Pictures) makes his way to the
outdoor ring, squinting against the sun. A graphics box onscreen
lists one of his "Keys to Victory" as "Use Intelligence." Really
substantial advice there.
Tim "Big Perm" Persey
continues the proud tradition of terrible MMA nicknames. Pre-fight,
Persey seems positively giddy about getting punched in the face.
His Key to Victory? "Find His Nasty Side Early."
After introductions, Persey
and Wiezorek finally lock up. Wiezorek lands some knees to Persey's
happy sack, which prompts the genial Big Perm to finally find that
nasty; after a break to recoup, he drops Wiezorek.
The plodding first round is
over. The pace is about what you'd expect from two heavyset men in
Wiezorek has back mount and
proceeds to pummel Persey for the stoppage.
"Where are you right now?" the physician asks him. Persey eyes the
thin crowd. "A Raiders game?" he offers. They let him up.
Phil Baroni (Pictures) is interviewed to hype up his
pending showdown with Frank
Shamrock (Pictures), who will be "weighed, measured,
and found lacking," much like a run of bad deli meat.
A clip of JZ Calvancanti's
pithy win over Nam Phan
(Pictures) is shown. This might be the
first time a 26-second fight has been edited down.
Ring announcer Jimmy Lennon,
Jr. channels his inner Snoop Dogg and introduces "Jake
Shizzizelds." I'm about to lose my lizzunch.
Shields runs a clinic on
Ido Pariente (Pictures), HMO-style: quick and
Shields is handed a very
phallic-looking trophy, courtesy of K-1 parent company FEG. I
chuckle and grab for a pen. A friend preemptively tells me to "grow
The Showtime broadcast ends
by imploring viewers to order the pay-per-view. I sigh and reach
for the Zantac.
The pay-per-view feed
begins. We catch our first glimpse of DJ Hapa, a record-spinning
stooge hired by K-1 to pander to American stereotypes. "Make some
nooooise," he suggests, then threatens to "be with you all
Ever the masochist, I Google
Hapa. The first returned link is a message board thread labeled "DJ
Dork. His résumé includes the crucial ability to bring a "chill
vibe" to proceedings; additionally, he's the DJ for the KTLA
Morning News. Don't worry: I'm sure he "slows things down" whenever
there's a mass shooting.
DJ Hapa implores the crowd
to "make some nooooise" for the third time, then directs the
crowd's attention to the West Tunnel. I wonder if there's going to
be a fire drill.
Four minutes in and I'm
already numb to the sheer inanity on display. It can't possibly get
any worse. Dennis Rodman just walked in.
Rodman is carrying a torch.
Fun fact: Rodman offered to bang a giant drum in a diaper, but K-1
turned him down.
The torch is now in the
hands of Mu Bae Choi
(Pictures), who jogs around the arena.
I think the Japanese imagined this pomp with more circumstance, or
Hong-Man Choi ascends the
steps to light the Olympic Torch; he's startled when it pops, not
unlike King Kong with the flashbulbs.
1994 recording sensations
All 4 One make an appearance to sing the national anthem. You might
recall their hit single, "I Swear." And if you do, I sincerely hope
you have a vagina.
The opening ceremonies
begin. Men are jumping on pogo sticks, a musician is blaring a
horn, there's fire, and Brazilian Carnival showgirls are gyrating.
I think I might be getting a contact high just from watching
In the most random comment
of the night, DJ Hapa declares that the Brad Pickett (Pictures)/Hidehiko Tokoro fight will have a
"time limitation." Wha-what?
The fighter introductions
begin. Hapa channels Bill Wallace circa 1993 by pronouncing "Royce"
with a hard "R." The crowd goes nuts for both Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures) …
… but there's virtually no
reaction at all for "Brack" Lesnar.
Rodman is formally
introduced and motions that he needs a microphone. In the first
decent production decision of the evening, no one gives it to
Crap, he found one. "UFC,
hell no," Rodman shouts. "We is talking about K-1."
"I is talking about a
raise," I tell Josh Gross.
While Renallo and color
commentator Bill Goldberg discourse, DJ Hapa is yapping in the
background, drowning them out. Not for nothing, but the Marquis de
Sade put on better productions in mental hospitals.
Quinton Jackson (Pictures) is spotted wearing the UFC belt.
I hope he isn't going to pull a Tim Sylvia (Pictures) and wear the damn thing
Renallo says Jackson is in
the "hizzouse." He's immediately punched in the face.
Thirty minutes in and
someone finally remembers they have fights to stage. Former NFL
Receiver Johnnie Morton
(Pictures) will make his MMA debut
against comedian Bernard
Ackah enters the arena and
boards a motorized cart that takes him ringside. What, no elephants
Morton enters and boards his
own cart. Forcing a fighter to stand still on these things while
their adrenaline is sky-high is a different and special kind of
The bell rings. Morton looks
like a spaz out there, unloading a flurry that catches nothing but
air. There's no restraint, no polish. Morton tries a takedown, but
can't cinch it.
Morton wades into the pocket
without keeping his hands up and is knocked out cold. He's
actually snoring. Thirty seconds goes by and he's still not moving.
It'll be another two minutes before he even opens his eyes.
Morton is carried out on a
stretcher and sports a neck brace. The scene is morbid as all hell
and endorses the idea that trained fighters are another breed.
K-1 officials attempt to
usher a Christian and a lion out to the ring; they appear confused
when the Commission intervenes.
replacement Ruben "Warpath" Villareal and Mighty Mo lock up. Mo
lands some heavy leather just 93 seconds in, crumpling Villareal in
the least shocking moment of the night.
Dong Sik Yoon (Pictures) attempts to satiate his South
Korean supporters by challenging Melvin Manhoef (Pictures). Manhoef is early-era Wanderlei Silva (Pictures), an absolutely vicious
Manhoef comes out like a
natural disaster, swarming Yoon with leather. Had it landed, one
glancing high kick would've made Yoon forget the alphabet.
Yoon contains Manhoef in his
guard, but only briefly. The ring ropes appear to be made of silly
string, with far too much give to them. In other words, even the
inanimate objects are screwing up.
Round one is over, and it
was likely the best of the night: high-intensity grappling,
strikes, and the fighters bouncing around the ring like pinballs.
Yoon seems no worse for the wear despite having spent five minutes
in the ring with a homicidal maniac.
Yoon gets the textbook
armbar for the win.
Hideo Tokoro (Pictures) and Brad Pickett (Pictures) are coming up. Under time
restriction, mind you.
DJ Hapa, who has
inexplicably not been met with an assassin's bullet yet, implores a
listless crowd to boo. "The fighters like that. It gets them riled
Jeff Sherwood hires DJ Hapa
for his birthday party. "It's just so we can drown him in the
pool," Jeff confides in me. I promise to be a character
After a scramble, Tokoro
submits Pickett with an armbar.
The hype for Sakuraba-Gracie
begins. I have mixed feelings on the return engagement. Their first
bout was epic stuff, but the ensuing seven years have been unkind
to Saku, who has the all the freedom of movement of a marionette.
This is going to be a very diluted sequel, "Jaws II" style.
DJ Hapa introduces Gracie
with yet another hard "R." At no point in the last two hours did
anyone go up to him to correct his first mistake.
As Sakuraba enters, Glazer
brings up the Ali-Frazier comparisons. Who was the DJ for that one
again? I forget.
The creaky legends lock up
for a second time. Gracie works his patented push kick to Saku's
lead thigh. As Royce rushes in, Saku lands a right hand that drops
Royce. Working from an open guard, Royce lands a few flush punches
to Saku's face. Saku locks up an ankle, but before he can fall back
for anything, Royce discourages him with some up-kicks.
Gracie butt-scoots and lands
several kicks to Saku's legs. Hapa eggs on boos from fans, inciting
them to "tell them how you feel" in the middle of the fight. What a
complete prostitution of the sport. I can only hope he mistakes his
Gatorade Cool Blue with some antifreeze.
A familiar sight: Saku locks
up a standing Kimura on Royce.
Round one ends. A very, very
even contest. Royce was dropped, but he landed far more strikes. A
9-9 round is impossible without a point deduction, but this is what
one would look like. Forced to score 10-9, you have to acknowledge
Saku clocking him.
Midway through round two and
we have yet to hear from DJ Hapa. In Saku's corner, Chute Boxe
captain Rudimar Fedrigo absent-mindedly picks a bloody tooth off of
his jacket. Either that, or my subconscious is just trying to
Round two ends. Very little
action with lots of tie-ups. Royce threw several knees to Saku's
thighs; a Chute Boxe-inspired clinch was a stalemate, with Royce
landing body shots to counter knees. Saku is completely
disinterested in engaging. 10-9 Gracie, but nothing to be proud
Fight's over. Round three
was a snooze, save for Gracie trying a Kimura from his guard. Going
by Sherdog.com rules, which play a little like Calvinball, I'd have
deducted a point from each man in each round for passivity and
declare it a draw. Mario Yamasaki was far too lenient in not
breaking up their repeated clinch.
Adhering to CSAC mandates, I give it to Gracie 29-28 for at least
trying to be aggressive … but it's specious to say anyone "won"
Gracie is announced as the
winner on the cards, ending Saku's perfect streak against the
family. Helio appears happy, but really, he's only got one
It's time to pop Brock Lesnar (Pictures)'s MMA cherry. Substituting for
Hong-Man Choi is Min-Soo Kim, a judoka who has thus far under
whelmed in MMA.
In a peculiar display of
priorities, Kim's cornermen busy themselves by styling his
Lesnar enters, looking
surprisingly serene for a debuting athlete.
Lesnar absorbs a kick and
segues into a takedown. He passes to mount and lands some short
punches to Kim's well-coiffed cranium.
"Yeah! YEAH!" Goldberg
maintains objectivity when Lesnar forces the tap from Kim.
Goldberg gets his rant on
about pro wrestlers in MMA being unfairly maligned. I fail to see
the point: Lesnar happened to be an NCAA champ, and that likely had
more to do with the win than his experiences in, say, the Royal
All smiles, Lesnar expresses
disappointment that "he didn't get to fight the big-headed guy."
Providing he's brought up slowly, Lesnar's work ethic and physical
attributes could take him far as a heavyweight, traditionally the
shallow end of the MMA pool.
The event is over. I feel
The spectacularly misguided production was, of course, no
reflection on the athletes, all of whom displayed their usual
mettle in competition.
That a DJ with the IQ of a mealworm was imploring the crowd to boo
during Gracie-Sakuraba should, however, be just cause for the
return of the firing squad.
Lesson learned. From now on, I refuse to trust any entity proceeded
by less than three exclamation points.
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