Incidents Mar XFO, Curran’s Victory

Incidents Mar XFO

By Greg Savage Nov 14, 2006
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Nov. 11 — To say that things didn’t go smoothly in the XFO’s first foray into the beautiful new Sears Centre in suburban Chicago would be an understatement.

There were some great fights, a couple near riots and some less than stellar sportsmanship on display before an estimated crowd of 4,200.

In the main event, Jeff Curran (Pictures) overcame a broken tibia to win a controversial majority decision over up-and-comer Raphael Assuncao. Also, former Chicago Bear Alonzo Spellman worked through severe fatigue to grab a victory in his professional MMA debut.

When Jeff Curran (Pictures) asked his manager to find him a top-notch guy to fight him in the biggest event of his young promotion’s existence, he wasn’t kidding. And Monte Cox did not disappoint.

Raphael Assuncao came into the lion’s den — or onto the frog’s lily pad if you will — and made a strong case for throwing his name into the mix with some of the better lightweights the sport has to offer.

Curran, co-promoter of the XFO along with Cox and Dan Lardy, had his hands full with the strong and nimble Assuncao. It didn’t help Curran that the first significant blow landed in the fight was a hard low kick that caught the “Big Frog” directly on his cup. That shot may have slowed him down but he was not out.

After taking about a minute to catch his breath, Curran came out swinging with a beautiful lead left hook that sent Assuncao on the offensive. He attempted a flying knee but Curran was ready for the attack and caught his Brazilian foe midair, slamming him to the mat.

Curran continued to molest his opponent with downward punches. Assuncao made it back to his feet with about two minutes left in the round and did his best to turn the tide of the period.

Scoring a single-leg takedown, Assuncao got his chance to work from dominant position. However, Raphael delivered a hard kick to the shin of the downed Curran, a no-no in the XFO rules, thus allowing Curran another respite — although it left him hobbled for the remainder of the fight. The opening frame soon came to a close with scoring the round a razor close 10-9 for Curran.

The second round was a bit slower paced with both fighters having their moments, Assuncao in the early parts of the round and Curran in the latter.

Assuncao seemed to do more damage with his ground-and-pound work, although Curran did land better punches in the stand-up. Both men got takedowns in the round and on the merits of damage done, scored the second round 10-9 for Assuncao.

The third round was action packed from start to finish. Assuncao caught Curran in a front headlock and started to pound away at his head with knees. Though Curran defended well with his hands, a couple of knees penetrated his shield.

Realizing that he might be safer on the ground, Curran knelt down to avoid the heavy strikes. Assuncao simply changed the target and continued to knee to Curran’s body before pushing him to his back. After a halt in the action the referee stood the fighters back up.

Curran launched a “superman” punch that did not land cleanly, and was subsequently wrapped up in a single-leg takedown and deposited to the canvas. While working from the top, Assuncao continued to grab the fence for leverage.

Seeing as how he’d already warned for this infraction, referee Todd Fredrickson felt it necessary to deduct a point from the young Brazilian. The fight was restarted with the combatants on their feet, and save a couple low kicks from Assuncao there was little action in the closing seconds of the bout.

Judges at ringside had it 29-27, 29-27 and 29-29 for Curran. scored the final round 9-9 due to the point deduction thus making a 28-28 final score.

As Curran took the microphone and attempted to show respect for his opponent by stating that he didn’t feel he won the fight, a number of disgruntled Assuncao supporters in the crowd berated him from just outside the corral surrounding the cage.

About 30 seconds into his address and after a couple minutes of abuse, Curran snapped and gave the hecklers a response. “F__k You!” Curran screamed at them. “You are not in here doing this.” As the microphone was tugged away from him Curran was calmed down and returned to the message he started with. He reiterated the fact that the fight was close and he thought that Assuncao may have won.

Moments later a group of fighters from Curran’s camp verbally accosted the hecklers and threatened to go into the crowd after them. Cooler heads prevailed and nothing came from the incident other than another black mark on the once promising event.

In a true sign of class, Curran paid Assuncao 50 percent of his win bonus even though he was not obligated to do so.
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