Remember when the Ultimate Fighting Championship was just a fringe scene? The videos were more accessible—and socially acceptable—than the softcore porn and Faces of Death shockumentaries, since they weren’t relegated to the back room at Movie Buffs (RIP). Unlike pro-rasslin’, guys fought under their real names with real fists and bled real blood.
Fast-forward 20 years, and the UFC’s noholds-barred mixed martial arts (MMA) fights are more popular than boxing. Who cares about Mike Tyson, whose crushing hooks and earchomping pale against a righteous beat-down in The Octagon? Watching a guy’s head reduced to a cartoonish, inflatable Bop-It—or his body drop like a sack of lead after a kick to the cabeza—is much more exciting.
MMA is huge in Utah, which now boasts several organizations including Throwdown Elite, whose Johnny Richie hosts The Cage News on Sports Radio 1280 AM and produces the upcoming grudge-match reality show Throwdown Reality, and Ultimate Combat Experience (seen weekly on CW 30). Our own Demarques Johnson is currently on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter. And this Friday will see the ninth installment of Jeremy Horn’s Elite Fight Night at the Layton Conference Center. Ten fighters from Nevada, Idaho and Michigan—as well as Utah’s Travis Marx (13-1) and Dustin “Demon” Collins (8-3) will try to end their matches by skillful submission holds or instant gratification knockouts. What result does Horn prefer? “I like both.”
Elite Fight Night 9 @ Layton Conference Center, 1651 N. 700 West, Layton, 801-359- 0856, Friday, June 26. HornsElite.com