Mixed Martial Arts | Sapp's cage match has abrupt ending
The Beast walked through a black curtain wearing a white robe while the music from "2001: A Space Odyssey" played at the Tacoma Dome. Four torches puffed fireballs...
Seattle Times staff reporter
ResultsMychal Clark of Tacoma beat Josh Bennett of Camas, TKO (referee stoppage) second round.
Lyle Beerbohm of Spokane beat Ray Perales of Boise, guillotine choke.
Mike Hayes of Kirkland beat Matt Kovacs of Tacoma, unanimous decision.
Zach Skinner of Olympia beat Scott Shaffer of Bellevue, unanimous decision.
Nathan Coy of Portland beat Dave Courchaine of Cheney, knockout first round.
Results: Jan Nortje beat Bob Sapp, TKO at 55 seconds of the first round. Cory Devela, Bonnie Lake, beat Joe Riggs, Phoenix, by injury stoppage (first round). Maurice Smith, Seattle, beat Rick Roufus, Tempe, Ariz., by submission (straight arm lock) in 1:53 first round. Eddie Ellis beat Steve Berger by unanimous decision; Jorge Masvidal, Miami, beat Ryan Healy, Portland, by unanimous decision. Mychal Clark, Tacoma, beat Josh Bennett, Camas, TKO (referee stoppage) second round; Lyle Beerbohm, Spokane, beat Ray Perales, Boise, submission (guillotine choke) in third round. Mike Hayes, Kirkland, beat Matt Kovacs, Tacoma, by unanimous decision. Zach Skinner, Olympia, beat Scott Shaffer, Bellevue, by unanimous decision. Nathan Coy, Portland, beat Dave Courchaine, Cheney, by knockout, first round.
TACOMA — The Beast walked through a black curtain wearing a white robe while the music from "2001: A Space Odyssey" played at the Tacoma Dome.
Four torches puffed fireballs to heighten the dramatic effect of Bob Sapp's walk to the six-sided cage.
The elaborate entrance was followed by an abrupt exit as 6-foot-11 Jan Nortje jackhammered Sapp repeatedly with punches, first opening a cut above Sapp's right eye, then knocking him down. The referee stopped the fight 55 seconds into the first round, a technical knockout.
That was the main event of a mixed-martial arts card at the Tacoma Dome, which included a Beast (Sapp), a Giant (Nortje) and a guy whose nickname is Fancy Pants. That's Lyle Beerbohm — and his nickname was no lie because the fluorescent striped shorts were indeed fancy. After he won his fight with a guillotine choke that's about as friendly as the name sounds, Beerbohm thanked his mom. She made his shorts.
Fighters walked through a black curtain, past a couple torches that puffed out flames for dramatic effect. There were lights. There was smoke. There was a live television audience watching in high definition. There was a walkway to the six-sided cage where the fighting was much more straightforward. No shoes. No frills. Just headlocks, uppercuts and a kick or three to the head in front of a crowd of 7,429.
There are rules to these kinds of fights. No eye-gouging. No hair-pulling. The groin is off-limits, though two of the first three fights were stopped to give an opponent time to recuperate from a blow that landed south of the border.
The lights went out in the ring during the first round of the first bout, the referee separating the fighters until the lights were restored. And not long after the fight resumed, the lights went out for one fighter as Nathan Coy knocked out his opponent, leaving him belly-down.
It wasn't the only dramatic ending of the evening. There was Beerbohm's choke, which forced his opponent to tap out, signaling his surrender. Corey Devela of Bonnie Lake performed a judo throw that slammed his opponent, Joe Riggs, so hard to the canvas that Riggs injured his back. He was taken out of the cage on a backboard.
Maurice Smith, who is 46 and a former mixed-martial arts champion, beat Rick Roufus in the first round with a straight arm bar.
Sapp, a former Washington football star fighting for the first time in the state, headlined. College teammates were at the fight. Jason Chorak. Tony Parrish. Eric Battle.
"I've gotten over being shocked at it," Parrish said of his former teammate's success.
There were signs of Sapp's predilection toward combat, Parrish said. The headlock he applied to D'Marco Farr during a practice early in his football career. The time he pulled off defensive end Robb Dibble's facemask during a tussle, and then pulled off his own to make everything fair.
Sapp became famous in Japan, his personality every bit as large as his imposing frame.
He's a spectacle fighting at 356 pounds against Nortje, who lost 40 pounds in the past seven weeks, for this fight. That put nearly 700 pounds worth of combatants in the cage for the main event that lasted less than a minute. The biggest bout of the night also turned out to be the shortest.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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