Print Edition: July 3, 2013
A rematch for the title, fights lasting mere seconds and a handful of technical knockouts (TKO) were the result of the June 21 amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. Held at the Squiala Community Centre in Chilliwack, the 10th WarPath Fighting Championships delivered production-quality effects and well-matched fights.
The night got off to a late start as spectators filed in; we were informed that they were waiting for the onsite doctor to arrive. Wouldn’t want to start without him. Then the lights dimmed and the bass was turned up as the first fighter was introduced. Spotlights found the entering fighter with his entourage as he climbed into the ring, his personal track of choice filling the room.
The first matchup started out relatively even with blue and red corners landing blows and earning submissions. Then a standing guillotine early in the second round brought the fight to a quick end and the night to an exciting start.
One gym was well represented on the card with eight fights, including the main event. Mamba Martial Arts Academy is based in Abbotsford and specializes in Muay Thai kickboxing, boxing, jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts. In addition to the fighters and their coaches, many members of the gym attended and made the entrance to the ring for each fight waving the Mamba flag. If intimidation was the tactic, they were making a solid attempt.
Another notable moment came from Muay Thai kickboxing Jacey Gong and Cody Livingstone. Gong is son of legendary local kickboxing talent Gordie Gong and trains with his father in Hamilton, Ontario. This was his second fight at the amateur level. In 22 seconds Gong pummeled Livingstone with repeated knees to the abdomen, resulting in a TKO. With all the things that could be going through a fighter’s head, especially considering Gong has been competing at this level for a mere four months, he was relaxed beforehand.
“Just relax, stay calm, relax, try not to get too excited,” he said of his pre-fight routine. Despite his recent success in the ring, Gong is already looking to the next step after amateur.
“[I’m] taking a little break from amateur and going to decide what I want to do,” he said. “Whether I want to continue with amateur or pursue another sport. Professionals always an option, but I’m not sure.”
The main event promised a rivalry match between Manvir Birk and Morgan Littlechild. They were meeting for the second time in competition for the WarPath Bantamweight Champion belt, with Littlechild being the current title holder. After the first round, with both corners making a solid effort, it was clear that this fight was not going down in the first or second round like the rest of the card had. The second round clearly went to Birk as he spent the majority of the time landing hooks to Littlechild’s head from inside his guard.
Littlechild wasn’t going down easy, he dominated the third round by achieving rear mount and landing repeated shots to Birk’s head.
By the fourth round, both fighters had taken a beating, but showed no sign of delay as the beginning bell rang. Birk landed a high kick to the head, only to be taken down and nearly forced out of the ring by Littlechild. They were reset in the middle of the ring and Birk quickly put Littlechild into an armbar, resulting in the final submission of the night. The belt was relinquished and Birk celebrated his victory with his gym.
Despite the quick end to most of the fights, the event was exciting and exhibited some highly skilled athletes. To find out more about local MMA events, WarPath Fighting Championships can be followed @WarPathMMA or at warpathmma.com.