If you can cover one thing, make sure it’s your face
Sept. 20, 2011 — What could be better than watching people pummel one another in the face? That’s right, ladies and gentleman of Lassen County — nothing!
The seventh annual High Desert Brawl returned to the Diamond Mountain Casino and Hotel Friday, Sept. 9, and it did not disappoint.
Seven fighters represented the Iron Pit Fight Team, managed by Rudy Valentine, with the girl fight being the only out-of-towners at the popular annual event.
Shawn McMullen represented Iron Pit first in the High Desert Brawl and in his first fight of his career, came away with a technical knockout win against his opponent in the opening moments of the second round.
Chris Romero also made his first appearance in the cage for the Iron Pit Fight Team, and came away with the win after battling it out in three rounds. Thanks to his crowd-pleasing kicks and destructive shots to his opponent’s face to get the blood flowing in round three, Romero earned his win by a split decision.
Aaron Frohrib was up next for the local team and despite being out of the fighting game for about two years, he showed no rust in his skills as he battled for a TKO win two minutes into the first round.
The impressive crowd soon exploded in raucous cheering when Sparky Lively entered the cage.
One of several crowd favorites, Lively dominated the competition, earning a TKO in round one. A fan amongst the crowd was heard screaming for Lively, saying “You (expletive deleted) rock!” Lively has now improved his fight record to 4-1 in his short time representing Iron Pit.
Chad Brewer came in after Lively and continued the win streak by Iron Pit, defeating his opponent in a tap out win.
The crowd continued to cheer for the hometown fight team with favorite Chuck McCloughan entering the cage to take on undefeated Joe Landa, representing Sudden Impact of Shasta Lake, Calif.
It seemed there might be trouble for McCloughan as he was at a disadvantage early in the bout. The tides quickly turned when McCloughan took matters into his own hands and flipped Landa over.
The crowd went wild after McCloughan kept his advantageous spot with Landa tight in his grip.
The bout stretched into three rounds with both fighters desperate for the win, but it was McCloughan who wanted it more, looking like a lion stalking his prey as he walked around Landa.
The bout went into a split decision and when McCloughan was announced as the winner, the crowd exploded in a thunderous roar, nearly overwhelming the populous.
Last up for the team was another crowd favorite, Mike Morales.
Representing the heavyweights, Morales’ fighting prowess allowed for him to get out of a sticky situation in round two after being thrown on his back by his opponent.
As a seasoned fighter, Morales owned round three and with just under a minute and a half in the last round, Morales won the bout by submission.
Fight of the Night award was then presented at the end of the night. McCloughan earned the award presented by Valentine.
Valentine said the award is given based on the opinions of the coaches, the referees, the judges, timekeepers and “anybody that’s really a part of my show that I value their opinion.”
After earning his award, McCloughan announced to the crowd he will be retiring from the fight game.
“I’ll give it some time,” said Valentine. “He’ll be in the gym, still going to train, still going to help out (with the team). We’ll see what happens.”
Valentine said McCloughan has been a real asset to the team.
“It’s always nice to have a leader, whether they’re the best on the team or not,” said Valentine. “If there’s someone on the team the guys respect, then they’re going to listen to them and follow their lead. Chuck has definitely been a leader and a big asset to the program.”
Before the fights began, there was a “kids exhibition fight” to warm up the night, while the audience poured in.
“Those were pretty good fights,” said Valentine on the future of the Iron Pit Fight Team.
The exhibition fight featured fighters ages 9 to 17. Kitt McCloughan, Justin Hagler, David Vasquez, Jared Law, Nick Hibbitts and Chelton Harwood were the fighters featured in the bouts.
Valentine said Harwood did exceptionally well for just starting his fighting game, and said he was impressed with Hibbitts as well.
Valentine said the exhibition bouts were a nice way to occupy the time between when the gates opened to the start of the High Desert Brawl.
Valentine said the cage fighting style that was first introduced during the May High Desert Brawl has been going over well.
“The ring makes you fight more because you can’t push somebody up against the cage and use your strength and bully people that way,” said Valentine. “It’s more of a technique fight than an aggressive drop him and smash him into the cage.”
The team is still training every week to prepare for future High Desert Brawls as well as other outside competitions.