Sunday, March 7, 2004
The rules of engagement forbid eye-poking. There's no biting, no fish-hooking an opponent's jaw, no spine-striking, no head-butting and absolutely no finger-breaking.
Good Sports: Trio train for the fight of their lives
Rich Franklin/West Chester, Kerry Schall/West Chester, Josh Rafferty/Western Hills
Spend five minutes with Rich Franklin, Josh Rafferty and Kerry Schall, and you'll see why full-contact fighting doesn't always warrant a bad rep.
"When the sport first started, there were basically no rules. Now it's a competition using martial arts that makes it safe for the fighter," Schall said. "It's so exciting, but it's something that's so hard to explain."
Mixed martial arts integrates various disciplines, including boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jujitsu. Fighters rely on mental and physical strategy to force their opponents into submission.
Franklin competes at the sport's elite level as a top light-heavyweight in Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder dealt TKOs in his first UFC fights in April and November.
From left, Josh Rafferty, Neal Rowe, Jorge Gurgel, Kerry Schall and Rich Franklin are ultimate fighters.
(Meggan Booker photo)
Schall, a super heavyweight at 6-3, 295 pounds, directs International Combat Events, an amateur showcase at Tori's Station in Fairfield March 19, while fighting on the side. Rafferty, a 6-1, 185-pound middleweight, competes in smaller pro tournaments.
All three were active in high school sports but sought alternatives to mainstream athletics. Franklin, who was smitten after seeing a fight in Indiana, first competed in 1998 as an amateur.
"It's unlike any sport, because you have to be good at a lot of different things. You have to box like a boxer, kick like a kickboxer and grapple like a wrestler," Franklin said.
Although the fighters' only protection is gloves that leave their fingers exposed, none of the three has suffered a major injury. In 21 professional fights, Schall said his worst affliction was a black eye.
Together the three train a combined 65 hours a week. Maintaining endurance for the typical three, five-minute rounds isn't easy, but Rafferty said 90 percent of fighting is in your head.
"It's the hardest sport I've done in my life," Rafferty said. "And I've tried everything."
GREATER CINCINNATI HANDBALL ASSOCIATION/FOREST PARK
The Cincinnati club produced five champions at the Ohio 2004 Handball Championships in Cleveland Feb. 20-22. Casey Mayo (Dayton) won the Open Singles, Paul Baker (Loveland) won the 50-plus Singles, Will Straw (Dayton) and Jim Krailler (Pleasant Ridge) won the 50-plus Doubles, and Jim Whol (North College Hill) and partner Marty Clemens clinched the Open Doubles title. "We always have a strong showing, but this was an extraordinary amount of champions," said Bob Hiance of Fort Thomas, a GCHA player and club board member.
The GCHA helps support the Miami University club handball team, which in its second year won the United States Handball Association Division II national championship last week at Southwest Missouri State. Thirteen students competed for the title, and senior Amanda Smith was named Miami's first national champion in the women's C division. "Our goal this year was to win Division II, and next year our goal is to play ourselves into Division I," sophomore Isaac Laughlin said.
Back after five years, the Kings Comets of the Mid-Continental Football League have revived under president, general manager and coach Brian Wells. The Comets, a minor-league developmental team, will hold tryouts April 9 at Wall2Wall Soccer and will play 10 games next fall with home games at Princeton High School. Most of the players who have committed to the team hail from Tristate colleges and high schools. Among the players are All-America offensive lineman Nate Moore (Mason High School, University of Dayton), Nik Buckmeier (Elder, Eastern Michigan) and Justin Frisk (Highlands, Thomas More). Former Cincinnati Swarm linebacker Nick Rice (Thomas More) was the first to commit to the Comets on Jan. 4. "It's a chance for players to get better and get more film. They can show they are still at a high competition level," Wells said. Interested players can reach Wells at email@example.com.
REDS / SPRING TRAINING
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Recovering Cruz making progress
Specter of drugs clouds the game
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BENGALS / NFL
Bengals retain Braham
Monster trade ultimately may favor Redskins
Traded to Ravens, Owens seeks to become an Eagle
Bobbitt's big shot gives Bearcats share of title
Banks grabs Bearcats' attention
XU takes Temple's best punch
Chaney doesn't temper criticism
Flyers prevail in regular-season finale
Florida adds fuel to UK players
RedHawks gain 3rd seed
No. 5 Mississippi St. 82, Alabama 81 (OT)
Washington 75, No. 1 Stanford 62
Marquette 81, No. 25 Louisville 80
Top 25 roundup: Duke back on winning track
Racers earn 5th NCAA berth in 8 years
Xavier women bow out of Atlantic 10 Tournament
MND, C-J on collision course
Turpin wins first sectional title since 1992
Chiodi's buzzer-beater downs Bluebirds
Badin girls upset Kenton Ridge
Wendeln puts on record FT show
Div. I girls' playoffs roundup
Gymnastics: Badin senior excels
State hockey: Talawanda falls to St. Ed
Prep sports schedules
Groeschen: Reading mourns Ramsey's death
Ernst: Father, son may meet in final
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