Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mixed Martial Arts

Wiuff's Elbow Shot TKOs the 'Ironman'
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 1, 2007; E07

Travis "Diesel" Wiuff delivered a vicious left elbow that triggered a flow of blood from the left eye of Travis "The Ironman" Fulton and ended their match last night in front of 2,452 fans at SMASH, the first mixed martial arts event at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

"He's got over 200 wins, so I didn't want to do anything too risky," said Wiuff, whose elbow blow gave him his third victory over Fulton (181-44-9, 56 technical knockouts) 3 minutes 27 seconds into the second round of last night's main event. "He's a legend in the sport and it didn't matter that I beat him twice before. He's 'the Ironman.' "

Wiuff's 14th technical knockout, delivered from a full-mount position, pushed his record to 48-11.

In his professional debut, Johnny Curtis of Manassas used an arm triangle to choke out Bill Clifford (5-3) 1:44 into the first round of the ninth and final bout on the undercard.

"I think the guy was a little more scared than he should have been, but I'll take all the respect he wants to give me," said Curtis, 37, whose wrestling resume has brought him that kind of respect.

Curtis, a graduate of Fairfax High School, was a two-time all-American wrestler at George Mason before graduating with a degree in government and politics in 1993.

Though he fell short in his quest to become an Olympic wrestler, the former U.S. national team member -- a towering presence at 6 feet 3, 233 pounds -- won't rule out a career in some form of fighting.

"Right now this is just a glorified hobby," said Curtis, a husband and father of four who runs a tree removal service in Manassas and earned first-round submissions in three amateur fights since August. "I'm hearing that they might do this again. If they have another event here, I really see the numbers picking up."

Jimmy Lange Enterprises and Ice Promotions, both key parties in recent boxing events held at the Fairfax campus, promoted last night's event and are considering making Patriot Center the hub of combat sports in the metro area.

"I don't think people around Virginia have been exposed to real good MMA like this," said Lange, a veteran professional boxer from Great Falls who will appear in his fifth boxing match at Patriot Center on March 29. "If you put on a good show anywhere, it will gain traction."

Jackie Kallen, head of Ice Promotions, expects mixed martial arts to catch on in Virginia.
"Boxing is being outdrawn by MMA in many cities," said Kallen. "This is the first one [in Northern Virginia]. Is it worth doing it again at this large of a venue? We'll look at the numbers and see what happens."

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