What’s your level of MMA fanaticism?
Level 1: a casual, catching blockbuster pay-per-views at an organized get together; Level 2: a follower, typically personified by someone with knowledge of the UFC and their superstars yet blurring the distinction of MMA and UFC; Level 3: a stir-crazy enthusiast, mining their own backyard for incubating talent.
The latter of these broad stroke classifications are much more than mere fans; they’re friends, family, and teammates, the support systems paving the lonely walk of a mixed martial artist passed the hinged threshold. As those surrounding the steel structure at West Coast Fighting Championship (WFC), WFC 18, gripped the edge of their seat for the feature fight on November 5, 2016—MMAGOLD’s Jordan Bailey (5-3) versus Team Alpha Male’s Michael Bravo (7-4), a bulk of the crowd inside the Metro City Soccer Complex soon found themselves grabbing the arm of a loved one and pulling them to safety.
For reasons that aren’t completely clear, nor would greater clarification change the sequence of events, a humungous brawl exploded in the stands, clearing a quarter of Rancho Cordova’s matchbox-sized arena. The intensity of competition, especially as exhilarating as MMA, mixed with free-flowing, adrenaline-filled energy can create an emotional environment. MMA isn’t alone in experiencing such situations, but WFC 18’s bell rang far too early.
Steven ‘The Gremlin’ Gruber (6-3) was expected to burst from backstage and represent MMAGOLD at centerfield in WFC 18’s co-main event, challenging Jeremy Murphy for the vacant WFC Flyweight Title. Prior to the chaos consuming everyone’s attention, it hadn’t yet been announced that Gruber’s championship bout was scratched because Murphy never received the necessary clearance from the physicians.
Even though Gruber already knew he was pulled from the card, he was eager, as his positivity never dims, to witness his remaining teammates, Bailey and Anthony ‘Fluffy’ Hernandez (4-0), shine. On Episode 6 of the MMAGOLD Podcast (link here), at approximately 27:00, Gruber uncorked a message, as he would a right hand or double-leg takedown, for everyone who chooses to attend MMA events in the future:
“To all the fans out there who want to come watch us fight. We bust our ass everyday in the fuckin’ gym: blood, sweat, and tears; getting our bodies beat to hell, just to put on a show for you guys. For you guys to retaliate by fighting each other in the stands and getting the fights cancelled, that’s pretty bullshit.”
Luckily, Gruber was granted another opportunity. An invitation to meet Alvin Cacdac (16-12) at Bellator MMA: Henderson vs Chandler, when the Viacom owned promotion returns to San Jose’s SAP Center on November 19, fell into his lap, which he gladly accepted.
Unfortunately, Hernandez and Bailey were unable to dig up a new contest as quickly. They’ve, since, returned to their training lair, Urban Sprawl Fitness, in order to remain ready for any contracts that may fall from the fax machine.
Hopefully, the next time these prospects, or any pair of combatants, hear the cage door lock, the fights for prizes stay inside the fencing.