Respect between two fighters in a mixed martial arts cage match is an ill-suited characteristic.
They’re in the octagon to dominate the other, after all. Punch or be punched. But for those in the ring, that respect factor is an absolute must.
For two Red Deer fighters, it was at an absolute high on Friday night at Havoc Fighting Championship 9 at the Westerner Prairie Pavilion.
Promotion co-owner Jesse Fox (4-6-0) and his opponent Brent Harvie (3-1-0) were both making their returns to competition after long layoffs following devastating losses.
The younger Harvie won the 145-pound fight at 2:15 of the second round with a triangle-choke submission, but there was no gloating afterwards, just an extended mutual celebration in the ring.
In their minds, both won just for getting back in the ring.
“I didn’t want any regrets,” said Fox. “I thought about packing it in, but my thought was I wanted to do it one or two more times so I couldn’t say at 50 years old, ‘I should have done that one more time.’”
Fox, 32, was making his first appearance in a fight since getting knocked out 35 seconds into a Nov. 11, 2011 fight against Allan Munroe. The concussion he suffered afterwards just about shelved his career for good. As he stepped back into the octagon he was grinning ear to ear and was more jittery than calm, the nervous energy almost taking over.
He couldn’t imagine fighting anyone other than Harvie, a long time friend of his in the close-knit MMA world.
“We were hanging out until a couple of days before the fight, but it’s all good he’s a warrior and I’m happy for him,” said Fox. “It was exciting, he was in the same boat as me, he maybe didn’t want to fight again. So it was kind of perfect for both of us, we were both out of shape and hadn’t fought in a while and we just decided to do it.”
Harvie, 28, was much more calm and focused, but it Fox got the early advantage with a punch to the solar plexus that knocked the wind out of him. But Fox was unable to capitalize. Both fighters made it through the closely contested first round.
In the second round, Harvie took the early advantage and took Fox’s back. Fox managed to slip out of the hold but was careless in doing so as Harvie snagged his arm and locked in the triangle-choke. Fox had no choice but to tap.
Harvie was completely relaxed and at home in the ring.
“I actually didn’t hear the crowd at all this time, maybe I did in my subconsciousness, but I was just doing what I was doing in sparring,” he said.
Harvie hadn’t fought since a second round TKO to Jesse Arnett on June 7, 2013 at Havoc 2. He suffered a concussion in the fight and though he recovered, his girlfriend at the time talked him out of returning to action.
The girlfriend is no longer in the picture and he jumped at the opportunity to be part of this fight with Fox.
He hopes this is just the beginning.
“I’m going to start fighting now like crazy, I want to get one in a month,” said Harvie, who fights out of Kensei Martial Arts in Red Deer. “I want to get to the UFC and I want to bash a few guys. If you’re going to do this sport you can do one of two things, take a few fights and have some fun with it and take a walk. But in my mind there’s no half-assing it in this game. If you’re going to go for it, you’ve got to go for it.”
The fight of the night was the second last bout on the card as Red Deer’s Wolfgang Janssen (5-1) went up a weight division to fight a much more experienced and much bigger Curtis Demarce (14-13) of Brandon, Man., at 155 pounds.
Janssen, 23, won the hard-contested fight by unanimous decision, though his face looked like it had met a meat tenderizer by the end of it.
“It was a very important win, it was a very important fight,” he said. “I knew that there was a very good possibility that it was going to go the distance so I worked hard and I always put my self in the best possible position to win.”
Janssen is hoping this fight shows what he is capable of in the ring and will set him up for a bigger fight down the line.
“I want to get another big fight in the next three months again … and just keep pounding away,” he said. “I want to fight in the UFC and I want to fight the best guys, so I’m going to work my way up there.”
The night was anti-climatic, however, as the main event between Calgary’s Noah Ali (6-2) and Detroit’s David “Bo” Harris (7-8-1) was unable to match the same intensity. Ali won by unanimous decision in a very cautious fight as Harris sat back waiting for opportunities to through power punches that rarely came due to Ali’s overly-cautious approach.
“The crowd was really into it and then that final fight was really slow,” said Ryan Machan, who owns Havoc FC with Fox. “Marty Ecklund really set a tempo, then it slowed down and picked up with the girls. It was sad the main event wasn’t as wild as the first pro fight but I think the crowd was really happy with it.”
Marty Ecklund of Blackfalds beat Wetaskiwin’s Ty Collier (1-1-0) at 170 pounds with a third round TKO in the second best fight of the night to kick off the pro card. The two fighters traded power punches standing up and both had their opportunities to ground and pound. Ecklund eventually overwhelmed Collier at 1:07 of the third round and the ref stepped in.
In other action, Chaleur Jones (2-1-0) of Calgary beat Coralie Dixon (0-1-0) of Edmonton by unanimous decision at 125 pound; and Clay Dixon (1-0-0) of Edmonton beat Kyle Coleman (0-1-0) of Calgary by unanimous decision.
On the amateur card, Anaolii Chmut of Red Deer knocked out Edmonton’s Travis Christensen at 185 pounds; Peko Sanaikhom of Edmonton submitted Terrence Ahlstom of Edmonton at 2:19 of the first round in a 155-pound bout; and Ryan Williams of Lethbridge got a first round submission at 1:35 if Daryll Gonzales at 135 pounds.
Havoc 10 is scheduled for Sept 25.