Charles “Zero” Jelks and Justin Cornell displayed a kaleidoscope of offensive and defensive brilliance on September 10, 2016 for the NorCal Fight Series (NCFS) Featherweight Title, but the color became a gray cloud of confusion inside the Metro City Soccer Complex when the dark uniform of the referee created a thunderstorm of backlash because he called an end to NCFS 3’s featured bout, in the opinions of many, far too early.
Fans rode a seesaw of excitement as these flashy featherweights tipped both ends of the fulcrum at different points throughout round one. After a rinse on the stool between rounds, the two met in the middle to repeat where they had left off. About a minute burned off the clock, and Jelks, in a frantic scramble, found himself attached like a leech to Cornell’s back. Hooks in, forearm under the chin, hands clasped, and a squeeze so tight everyone filling a folding chair held their breath.
Once the referee instructed Jelks to release the submission, the crowd assumed Cornell tapped, except Cornell’s reaction orated a differing narrative. Cornell immediately sat up straight and pleaded his case with the ref, to no avail. Apparently, the referee saw signs of Cornell’s consciousness fading, but the vocal wave of disagreement lent credence to the possibility of an unjust stoppage.
NCFS’s executives, Phil Flathers and Dave Hirschbein, acting with urgency and clarity, offered Cornell an immediate rematch on the November 5th card, when NCFS partners with West Coast Fighting Championship (WFC) to co-promote a Fight Night featuring athletes of the amateur and professional variety. Until then, the issue is written in the record books as: Jelks is the new NCFS Featherweight Champion.
Watch the controversial contest for yourself: