Manly Mixed Marial Arts (MMA) cage fighting; a woman running the operations! Tracy Farrington took care o’ me at Full Contact Promotions Presents the Gladiator Challenge Summer Showdown last Friday night. Till then, I was an MMA virgin!!

She is the highest ranking woman in MMA operations, and what would have happened if Pamela Anderson and Don King had a love child. She’s the ultimate threat here–a blonde bombshell with serious promotions and operations instincts running around to the constant bark of her walkie-talkie.

Divas, I was sittin’ pretty cage-side in a gym full of 3000 fans. (And heeeellll yeah, I had locker room access! More on that later!) Was the audience a scary mixture of rabid men who might otherwise be found at a Monster Truck Show? Why, no!

A graceful good number (25%) were women all dressed up like it was opening night on the Vegas strip somewheres. And there were the color-coordinated gym members representing different fighters. So a group of hot chicks might be flanked by men in green bandannas representing a Jiu–Jitsu gym, say.

Each fight was 3 rounds, and lovely Ring Girls pranced the perimeter of the cage to let you know which round it was, which was helpful because most gaping, gawking guys would have been hard-pressed to come up with numbers as the lithe ladies passed them.

So if you don’t know, MMA is like super tricked out gloves-be-gone boxing. The fighters can hit, kick, and wrestle on the ground in a fatal tangle of torsos and limbs. They can kick higher than any Rockette, and their art is no where more apparent than when they are pinned on the ground. This is when they have to outwit the man on top and topple him with deft maneuvering. Or tap out. Which means throw in the towel. All while the guy on top is pummeling their ears and head. Ouch.

I saw men pick each other up and throw ’em down, throw ’em up against the cage, and one gladiator even lifted another high off the ground upside down. Dude! The main event was the tenth and final fight–favorite Kurt Osiander vs. Nate Moore. Moore was more as he knocked Osiander out in six seconds flat!

Whew. But you know what? At the end of every match, the men hug each other. You heard me. Awwww… I think because it’s so much about tactical skill and pitting knowledge against training, a match ultimately with themselves. Not so much about kicking ass. Although that happens too.

For a few of the fighters, this was their first pro match. How exciting! Er, the information as well as the locker room interviews that yielded it! :) Gabi Solorio is 19 and he won his first fight against fire fighter Justin Hoglund. The whole audience just about lost its mind as hundreds of them were supporting Hoglund. But the house didn’t fall, though tensions were sky high (security rocked.)

And though he lost, Jaime Rodriguez has a winning story–when he walked into his training gym, he weighed 300 pounds. And now he’s a hard-core professional MMA fighter. The sport changed his life!

The good news is that Tracy’s buddy, Ryan Bastianelli, won his fight. It was amazing to watch! Ryan, a head shorter than his opponent, kicked ass with his lower center of gravity. There was no way for Gigo Jara to knock him to the ground!

The guys towards the beginning of the night weren’t the sculpted gods you might expect from a Gladiator Challenge, but they were still formidable. I certainly wouldn’t want to be caged with ’em! And by the end of the night, it was rippling abs adorned with fierce tattoos melting over taut sinews. Mmmm…

Yeah, there was blood. There was knock-down-drag-out fighting. And no headgear, helmets, gloves or even shoes and shirts! They don’t wear boxing gloves, those pillows for pansies. MMA boys wear what look like biking gloves. That’s it. Just a thin layer between knuckles and pain.

Too, there were tons of officials, and even a WOMAN JUDGE, Susan Thomas-Gitlin of the CA State Athletic Commission! It was a very classy, organized, serious operation. This was no backroom fight club. Though that’s what it felt like–it felt like I was at an underground thang, an undiscovered adventure, yet totally officiated and very safe.

So the next time you’re looking for something new to do, why not grab the girls or impress your male friends or man and head to the next MMA fight in your area! It’s definitely a great night out!

And if it’s a Gladiator Challenge presented by Full Contact Promotions, it extra rocks with a woman’s touch!

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