Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Intimidation Cage Fighting’s ICF: Breakout at U.S. Bank Arena. The night was capped off by a main event that saw ICF exclusive fighter “Vicious” Victor O’Donnell defeat former UFC fighter Forrest Petz via rear naked choke.
This was ICF’s first show at U.S. Bank Arena, and it was a good one. A number of people from the local fight scene were there supporting their teammates, but the event also played host to such spectators as Rich Franklin, Jens Pulver, Matt Hammill, Monte Cox and Mike Patt.
Team Jorge Gurgel made a successful foray into the ICF, going 3-0 on the night and other local teams, Team Xtreme out of Cincy MMA and Fitness and Team Vision also notched a few more wins. Team Xtreme went 2-1 on the night and Team Vision 5-3. Team Vision by far had the most fighters on the card with eight.
I caught up with a couple of the fighters and ICF promoter Steve Stanton after the show to get their thoughts.
Jeremy Pender brought home his first pro win, the FightTicker.com Submission of the Night, with a rear naked choke over Carson Gainey in the second round.
FightTicker: You got your first pro win tonight over Carson Gainey – how did you feel going into the fight?
Pender: Man, I was really nervous. Big place, lot of people. Took me a little while to get comfortable, tried to settle in and do some striking at first. I knew I had a little bit more of a range than he did, but I hesitated, I couldn’t get off. Took him to the ground in the second round and it worked out for me.
FT: When you two fought against each other as amateurs, you were able to finish him then via submission as well – do you think he stepped up his game between that fight and this one?
Pender: Honestly, it was like fighting two different guys. His striking was a lot more crisp. He was still a little bit wild, but he hit me with some good shots. I thought I was a little too long and lanky for him on the ground and I ended up trapping his arm with my leg and got control. The first time [during the amateur fight], I think it was more he took me down and didn’t know the guard I worked and I caught him in a trick. But this time, he was a lot more cautious. Every time he took me down, if I got to guard, he got back up and wanted to strike. But I thought I was winning the striking with my footwork.
FT: What’s next for you?
Pender: I think I’ll take about a month off [from fighting], I’ll go back to the gym and start working with some new people, work on my jiu jitsu, get my striking a little bit better and going to come back in June, I think. It’s up to Steve, he’s going to be my manager.
FT: Why the Oscar the Grouch hat? [Pender walked out for the fight wearing a green Oscar the Grouch hat.]
Pender: Honestly, it’s for the pictures. I teach pre-school, and I teach at Redwood, a place for autistic kids, and they like my hat so I had to wear it out and support them, keep the roots, you know?
I also got the chance to catch up with Chad “H-Bomb” Hinton after his FightTicker.com KO of the Night win over former UFC fighter Jeff Cox. Although Cox appeared to keep Hinton from really getting his stride in the first round, Hinton came out hard and KO’d Cox thirty-seven seconds into the second round.
FightTicker: Big KO victory over Jeff Cox tonight – how’d you feel going into the fight?
Chad Hinton: I felt great. I knew Jeff was a tough guy and I didn’t underestimate him. In fact, I was a little bit hesitant in the first round which I regret, but after all said and done, it’s all good.
FT: How did it feel to get the big KO in front of your hometown crowd?
Hinton: Man, it felt great. Brian, it felt great, I appreciate you asking. It was my first knock out, so I was really pleased. I was looking at it – the goal of the night was to get the KO of the Night, so it was great.
FT: What’s next for you?
Hinton: I’ll let Steve Stanton figure that out for me. We hope to have the opportunity we’ve been hoping for, for a while, to get in the UFC and if not, we’ll keep working hard in the ICF and get things done here.
FT: Are there any people or sponsors you’d like to thank?
Hinton: Ok, people / companies I want to thank...I hope you're ready. My wife, Lynne, and kids, Caylan and Mikayla. They had to deal with me through training camp and cutting all of the weight. God truly blessed me with an incredible family. My mom, dad, brothers and sister and in-laws. In a very sincere and special way, my grandfather. He's like my second father. Yeah, we're THAT close. He has fallen on bad health lately and has been struggling in and out of the hospital. He was actually my inspiration before the fight. I dedicate that win to my Grandpa Joe. He's the man. My coaches, corners and motivators, Marty Slone, Dahei Haile, Corey Boyle, Lonnie "Scotty" Scott, Marcus Finch, Matt Koz, Nick Corey, Tommy Wells. My business partner Tony Brucato, massage therapist Selena Keller, ICF owner Steve Stanton and his wife Melissa Stanton, Denver Cavins and the rest of the ICF team, and my friend Brian Kinamore. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. If I forget them they still know I appreciate them! Sponsors....Toezup and Tony Palazzo, Cincinnati Chiropractic and Andy Limle, Cincy MMA & Fitness, EnergexNutrition.com, Scoreboard Sports Bar (West Side, Cincinnati, OH) CockDiesel, and FightForLifeUSA.com.
Finally, I was able to catch up with ICF Promoter Steve Stanton. I’m sure Stanton was ready for a break, but as always he took some time out to sit down with me and discuss the show.
FightTicker: What did you think about the show tonight?
Steve Stanton: I think it was great. Ohio is a good place to come and fight, everybody treated me really good; the [Athletic] Commission is good, the fans are just crazy, nice, and exciting. Good show, good fights. Three-rounders [almost] every time!
FT: I saw that you premiered some new production videos and things like that tonight – how did you feel about the production that you were able to use at U.S. Bank Arena?
Stanton: It’s off the hook. It [the production] gets better and better every time. Our videos, our camera guys, our website, it all gets better all the time. And man, the crowd was great.
FT: Any preliminary numbers on crowd size?
Stanton: 3000-3500. Pretty good for my first time at U.S. Bank Arena. A guy out there said this was a pipe bomb dream – he wasn’t kidding - it blew up tonight. I’m glad he said it was a pipe bomb dream, that’s pretty cool.
FT: A lot of your ICF exclusive fighters, Chad Hinton, Jeremy Pender, Victor O’Donnell had big victories tonight – what did you think of their performances?
Stanton: I’m proud of all the guys. All the guys, even the guys that lost all fought their hearts out tonight. It’s a great privilege to come to Ohio and fight at U.S. Bank Arena. It just gave me cold chills when I walked in tonight and the music started playing. I’m proud of Jeremy, Chad and Victor, all the guys that won tonight. There were a lot of close calls, Cincy MMA and Fitness did good tonight, there were a lot of good fights.
FT: You have an event coming up next month back at Turfway and then back here in August, right?
Stanton: Yeah, May 16th we’re back at Turfway, in June we’re going to Evansville, Indiana. July 18th, we’re going down to Louisville at the Kentucky International Convention Center, and then July 25th we’re back at Turfway, and back here at U.S. Bank Arena August 22nd.
FT: You think you might get a day off somewhere in there [Laughs]?
Stanton: I’m definitely going to take off tomorrow and be with my family, my kids, my wife. I’ve neglected them, and it’s family time tomorrow for sure. My phone’s dead and I don’t even think I’m going to charge it.
FT: Chad Hinton had a big KO win tonight – what’s next for Chad?
Stanton: He’s done great. He probably won’t fight until August – he’ll probably be my main event. He definitely proved himself tonight to all those guys that didn’t believe him, all that bad stuff they say [on the internet]. He beat a guy that’s been in the UFC twice, I think that’s going to stop the talk.
FT: You had a number of former UFC fighters on the card tonight – do you think you’ll be trying to nail down as many of those big names for the August show?
Stanton: Oh yeah. What I’ve done tonight – I can’t go backwards, I’ve got to go forwards. It’s going to be awful hard to top tonight’s card and everything like the advertising and my truck [UFCW 75 did a wrap on Steve’s truck – picture below] but don’t worry. Everything we do, I want to do the best, be the best and whatever I got to do to do it, I’m going to do it.
FT: Is there anybody you need to thank?
Stanton: I want to thank my sponsors, UFCW 75, the U.S. Army, Pure Romance, Cadillac Ranch. Thanks to Miller Lite for running the beer specials, thanks to Hooter’s – we’ve got the prettiest ring girls [Hooter’s waitresses]. I want to thank Cataclysm MMA for the great trophy they gave Victor O’Donnell tonight. Definitely want to thank 7 Hills Church, ain’t nothing like having God in here, that’s for sure. Fighting’s not all bad, just because you’re fighting doesn’t mean it’s bad.
For my FightTicker.com “Of the Night” Awards, there were a number of fights that deserved Honorable Mentions as well. Here are my choices.
FightTicker.com KO of the Night – Chad “H-Bomb” Hinton
Honorable Mention – “Ruthless” Ron Mitchell
FightTicker.com Submission of the Night – Jeremy “Pony Boy” Pender
Honorable Mention – Luke Zachrich
FightTicker.com Fight of the Night – Marcus Finch vs. Tyler Johnson
Honorable Mention – Matt Egner vs. Steve Muldrow
I'll be back covering the ICF on May 16th for ICF: Sacrifice at Turfway Park in Florence, KY. A portion of proceeds from the event will be donated to The Point Northern Kentucky, and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society
For more on the ICF, including some great pictures from Breakout, check out their website.
(Originally posted on FightTicker.com)