Smash Global, the most unique experience in all of combat sports returned on December 13th with Smash 8: Night of Champions. It was the organization’s eight event and each event keeps getting bigger and better. If you are unfamiliar with Smash Global, imagine if the Oscars and the UFC had a baby. It is red carpet sexiness paired with martial arts action. Fine dinning, fine clothes, and fine looking people come together to honor legends of both entertainment and combat sports. The honorees for Smash 8 were film star Dolph Lundgren, television and fitness icon Lou Ferrigno, and boxing legend “Sugar” Shane Mosley. If the line up of honorees were not enough, the event was capped of with four championships fights.
If there has been one criticism about Smash Global, it is that the fights almost seem secondary to the pageantry of the celebrities in attendance. Smash Global president Steve Orosco, himself a former fighter, addressed those criticisms head on and introduced four new titles into the organization at Smash 8. Smash Global now has its own bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, and light heavyweight champions. With big time fights in front of big time crowds it will not be long before fighters from all over the world will be begging to get on future Smash Global cards.
The mood in the air at Smash 8 echoed what honoree Lou Ferrigno said during his acceptance speech, “embrace your passion.” That is advance that Ferrigno’s fellow honorees and Orosco himself have followed. Orosco has turned an idea into a full-fledged MMA organization that has Hollywood buzzing and most importantly gives back to the community. Proceed of the night will go to Orosco’s mission to eradicate bullying in schools and communities.
Ferrigno, who was the first to be honored during the night, spoke about overcoming childhood abuse and discovering his passion for fitness. Ferrigno first made a name for himself by being one of the best professional body builders in the world. He then transitioned into acting and stared as the Incredible Hulk during the famed television show from the late 70’s. He spoke of how the images found in magazines and comic books inspired him to achieve his health and fitness goals. Ferrigno also thanked fellow actor and Academy Award nominee Mickey Rourke for being an attendance. He capped off his speech by thanking his wife of many years and reminding everyone in the crowd to embrace their passion.
The MMA action was kicked off with a featherweight championship bout between Jamall Emmers and Fard Muhammad. Both men felt the importance of the fight, as both were a little tentative to start. After a few exchanges of kicks it was Muhammad who seemed to get comfortable first. He started to get a little creative with his striking but Emmers stayed the course and remained patience. The patience payed off as Emmers was able to score a takedown midway through the round. Emmers moved to side control after getting the takedown but Muhammad stayed busy on the bottom. Muhammad made it difficult for Emmers to get his hooks in. Muhammad landed with a hard shot from the bottom that busted Emmers open pretty good. The cut was right between his eyes and was pouring out a good amount of blood. The extra lubrication from the blood helped Emmers attempt a rear naked choke but the bell rang before he could sink it in.
The second round saw Muhammad miss with more of his creative striking. Emmers was able to capitalize on the opening left my Muhammad and scored another takedown. From there Emmers moved into side control but rather that go for another submission attempt, he started in heavy with the ground and pound. Following a series of unanswered strikes, including hard hammer fists, the fight was stopped.
The second fight of the night saw Andri Vasykenko defeat James Cannon to become the inaugural Smash Global light heavyweight champion. Vasykenko used his superior grappling skills to wear down Cannon for three rounds and cruised to a unanimous decision victory. Cannon was so run down by Vasykenko that he could barely stand after the final bell went off.
Boxing legend “Sugar” Shane Mosely was the next honoree of the night. Mosely has compiled 49 wins in a boxing career that has spanned over 20 years. Sugar was a four-time world champion in three different weight classes and has twice been named “Fighter of the Year”. Mosely’s said it was great honor be part of the Smash Global list of inductees and that he was just very happy to be part of the night.
The MMA action continued with the crowning of the first Smash Global lightweight champion. Shohei Yamamoto defeated Quinton McCotrell to have the honor of being the first fighter to wear the Smash belt around his waist. He did so by submitting McCotrell via a rarely seen bulldog choke in the second round. The fight started off well for McCotrell. The first round saw him land an early takedown but Yamamoto was able to recover. After getting up from the takedown Yamamoto unleashed a mini onslaught of strikes that McCotrell did a good job of defending. The second round is where things turned for McCotrell as Yamamoto was able to get him to the round and maneuver his way to the bulldog choke for the win.
After the bout it was time for the night’s main honoree to be welcomed to the cage. Dolph Lundgren is known throughout the world as being Sylvester Stallone’s arch nemeses in Rocky IV, Ivan Drago. Lundgren’s acting career has spanned over 30 years. He has been one of the world’s top action stars and has also been a very vocal supporter of marital arts. Lundgren holds the rank of 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin karate. He has won karate championships in European and Australia. His love for martial arts never died, even when he was filming movies all around the world, “on film sets, you have all these actors, producers, directors, but I always seemed to hand out with the stunt guys or fighters”, Lundgren said. “Fighters have something in common, they have all gone through the same thing. There is a lot of humility and respect, and a lot of warmth in fighters. There is a community that is special and I can feel it here tonight.”
Just before the main event kicked off, Orosco made a special announcement to the crowd. Those familiar with Smash Global know that Orosco likes to have surprises up his sleeve. Smash 8 was no different as he called Mickey Rourke to the cage. There has been a tradition of surprise honorees at each event and it was Rourke who received the honor on this night. Rourke has put together an acting career worthy of an Academy Award but his knowledge and love of boxing far surpass his love of acting. He took a break at the peak of his acting career to train boxing full time. It was a move that many in the film industry could not understand but lovers of the sweet science, like Orosco, fully understood the move. Rourke embraced his passion for boxing and for doing so he was rewarded by becoming a Smash Global honoree. Rourke was genuinely surprised by the honor and thanked everyone in attendance before posing with the Smash Global championship belt.
The night was capped off with the bantamweight championship bout between Flavio Carvalho and Jordan Winski. The two fighters did not let the crowd down as they engaged in a very entertaining fight. Both men let it all hang out from the opening bell. The stand up striking looked sloppy at times but it was entertaining as both men threw caution to the wind. Winski got the better of the striking exchanges and was able to drop Carvalho in the opening round.
Winski found his range in the second round and looked more composed and under control. He dropped Carvalho twice in the first 30 seconds of the round. After a third knock down the fight was stopped. Carvalho was so out of it that he tried to wrestle the referee down to the ground after the fight had been called.
Below are the full results of Smash 8: Night of Champions
- Featherweight Championship: Jamal Emmers def. Fard Muhammed via TKO in Round 2 at 1:55
- Light Heavyweight Championship: Andri Vasykenko def. James Cannon via unanimous decision
- Lightweight Championship: Shohei Yamamoto def. Quinton McCotrell via submission (bulldog choke) in Round 2 at 0:41
- Bantamweight Championship: Jordan Winski def. Flavio Carvalho via KO in Round 2 at :046
Article By: Alex Ramirez Head writer for FiveRoundMMA and FightBook MMA Correspondent