Minute-by-Minute: bodogFIGHT

By Jake Rossen Apr 16, 2007
Despite predictions to the contrary, Calvin Ayre's fledging bodogFIGHT promotion still exists. In their second pay-per-view offering, the dozens of fans who tuned into their Ion network lead-in series will hopefully find closure; others will be thousands of dollars in credit card debt, having absorbed Ayre's subliminal message to go bet their paychecks on bodog's famed gambling site.

(I'm no exception: either Steve Nash scores 25 points in Monday's game against Houston or my car gets repossessed.)

Because headliner Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) is from the former USSR, the telecast comes to us from St. Petersburg, Russia, where people still wait in line for bread and water. (Those of you who believe I will pass up this opportunity to perpetuate ignorant Russian stereotypes are gonna be some sad little kids on Christmas morning.)

Copious notes follow.

9:04 p.m. An alleged capacity crowd fills the ICE Palace, having been promised indoor temperatures of at least 40 degrees, which some patrons find uncomfortably warm.

9:05 p.m. "Colonel" Bob Sheridan greets the pay-per-view audience, his rank likely as legitimate as Colonel Sanders'. I've never heard of him. He joins Paul Lazenby -- presumably a lowly sergeant -- and Captain Jeff Osborne (Pictures).

9:06 p.m. I'm informed by crack Sherdog.com researchers that 60-year-old Sheridan has suffered four heart attacks in his lifetime. His cardiologist is still trying to decide which Picasso would look best in the living room.

9:07 p.m. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Russian President Vladimir Putin are announced to be in attendance. I find it sad that the ruler of a world superpower will probably be less recognizable to stateside viewers than Chuck Zito.

9:11 p.m. It's Russia vs. Canada, a motif not seen since Yakov Smirnoff played three dates in Montreal, as Roman Zentsov (Pictures) takes on Kristof Midoux (Pictures).

9:15 p.m. An abrupt technical gaffe has a muffled Lazenby appearing to broadcast from a cardboard box in the parking lot. If this is all that goes wrong in a telecast from Russia under the supervision of an online casino magnate, count our blessings.

9:16 p.m. Midoux goes for an armbar, misses, but lands in full mount. His offense is stifled as Zentsov applies the highly technical defense of the "Velcro monkey," wrapping his arms around Midoux's torso and holding on for dear life.

9:20 p.m. Round one ends just as Midoux succumbs to strikes to the side and top of the head. He lies there for a long, long time. In accordance with Russian emergency services protocol, he'll be given 15 minutes to recover before being shot, ground up, and fed to welfare recipients.

9:24 p.m. A self-aggrandizing video airs of Bodog president Calvin Ayre. To his credit, it's approximately an hour shorter than Thursday's self-aggrandizing Spike special featuring Dana White.

9:28 p.m. Hitomi Akano (Pictures) takes on Amanda Buckner (Pictures) in the evening's women's bout. Van Damme leers into the ring, preparing to turn on the ol' Brussels charm.

9:36 p.m. Round one ends, with Buckner and Akano having spent the majority of the time in the clinch. Buckner finished strong with a trip-takedown and punches from the top.

9:38 p.m. Akano eats a kick on the chin and Lazenby remarks that she has "whiskers." This is where I prove my maturity and not comment.

9:42 p.m. Round two ends; Buckner scored with strikes, but no real fireworks.

9:42 p.m. A forlorn Midoux comments backstage. "He ees tough man, ‘ard man," he says of Zentsov. Van Damme is asked to translate.

9:48 p.m. Fight is over. Akano had nothing for Buckner, getting out-muscled and controlled en route to a decision loss.

9:51 p.m. The camera catches its first real sighting of Van Damme, who appears genial if a bit leathery-looking. I have seen Bloodsport no less than a dozen times as a youth, and I shudder to think how it influenced my views on cinema. Terms of Endearment, I once remarked to friends, was all right, but needed more groin shots, maybe a training montage.

9:51 p.m. "I honestly think Andrei Semenov (Pictures) could throw a rock at a hornet's nest and hit each individual hornet as it attacked him." Lazenby is prone to subtle, dry commentary.

9:55 p.m. Putin is introduced to the crowd and sits down next to Van Damme in a scene more surreal than a Dali painting. For your average Russian observer, this is equivalent to nothing less than George Bush commiserating with Scott Baio at a WEC card.

9:59 p.m. Jorge Santiago (Pictures) prepares to take on Andrei Semenov (Pictures).

10:06 p.m. Round one ends with Semenov in control, scoring with strikes and attempting a few armbars.

10:10 p.m. The referee intervenes when Santiago lands successive punches to a downed Semenov; though it looked sketchy, the stoppage is validated when a dazed Semenov attempts to tackle the official.

10:13 p.m. We get a glimpse into Matt Lindland (Pictures)'s locker room as he rolls with vaunted light heavyweight prospect Sudoku.

10:16 p.m. Lazenby informs us that Aleksander Emelianenko (Pictures) served five years in prison for armed robbery. Since Japan seems to have a rigid no-admittance policy when it comes to convicted felons, and Aleks was a frequent guest there, I have to wonder how true this is … though I'm not sure where else one can commission a full-back tattoo of a grim reaper holding a baby.

10:18 p.m. During his pre-fight interview, Aleks uses the non-word "fiercefully." You tell him it doesn't exist.

10:20 p.m. Eric Pele (Pictures) enters the ring at a relatively svelte 275 pounds.

10:23 p.m. Aleks comes out "fiercefully," throwing knees and punches with bad intentions. Both men seem to suffer from a serious case of bed-head.

10:25 p.m. As Pele absorbs shot after shot, Lazenby remarks on his "strategy" to get hit and let Aleks tire himself out. As game plans go, this is only slightly more advisable than simply not showing up.

10:27 p.m. After a frustrating stalking session, Emelianenko drops Pele with a left hook. He produces a flask from his fight shorts, takes a swig and exits the arena. Along the way, several apprehensive Russians hand him envelopes full of cash. "Is Aleks tax, ha, ha, ha," Emelianenko shares.

10:31 p.m. We go inside Fedor's locker room. He's sound asleep as trainers drop cannon balls on his stomach. An electrical cord runs from his neck to a nearby outlet.

10:35 p.m. Eddie Alvarez (Pictures) prepares to defend his bodog welterweight title against Nick Thompson (Pictures). There's a bodog welterweight title?

10:45 p.m. Round one ends with the lanky Thompson edging out Alvarez in a stand-up affair.

10:51 p.m. Thompson pounces on Alvarez to nab a referee stoppage and this alleged, hypothetical bodog welterweight title.

10:59 p.m. Highlights of the dark matches from earlier in the evening are shown, including a hobo versus two hungry dogs.

11:08 p.m. Matt Lindland (Pictures) continues his quest to have the most engorged testicles of any human by taking on vaunted heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) despite a substantial size disadvantage.

11:14 p.m. Fedor is introduced to a ravenous crowd. Dark spots dot his stomach, presumably from the cannon balls. He sips from a can of motor oil on his way to the ring.

11:16 p.m. Lindland has underhooks and seems intent to launch Fedor like a bale of hay. Unfortunately for him, Fedor steadies himself by latching on to the ropes. When Lindland executes the throw, Fedor lands on top. He's leeching some kind of viscous liquid from a cut in his exoskeleton above his right eye.

11:18 p.m. Fedor taps Lindland with an armbar.

11:21 p.m. Van Damme enters the ring to raise the hand of Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures). He addresses the crowd. "I ahem ‘ery glad to be ‘ere in your beauteeful city." He also promises to make yet another movie where he plays twins. Coming soon to a grocery store near you.

11:24 p.m. In a post-fight interview, Lindland expresses concern over Fedor grabbing the ropes during a takedown attempt.

11:26 p.m. It's Fedor's turn to speak. "The sore loser Lindland, he is man baby," declares the champ. With his prize money, he plans on buying a bigger hamster to run the wheel that powers his furnace. Furthermore, his children will be able to attend school indoors. The crowd cheers.

11:38 p.m. The show closes with the "bodog girls" flaunting their forms, satiating the prurient desires of mouth-breathing viewers. Including me.

Despite hemorrhaging money like Scrooge McDuck after a home invasion, bodogFIGHT is not as rancid as some would have you believe. Though the Russia vs. the World concept seemed to expire once Rocky IV hit home video, the fights were entertaining and the production credible.

I'll give it three Van Dammes out of five; right on par with Death Warrant, better than Monaco Forever, not as good as Timecop.

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