Southwest Scene: Lutter Balks at Retirement Talks

By Tommy Messano Jun 16, 2008
Coming off a loss to Rich Franklin (Pictures) at UFC 83, Travis Lutter (Pictures) is going back to the drawing board and utilizing a university medical department to get his body into peak condition.

"I came back from the fight and went back to training jiu-jitsu," Lutter said. "I got to talking with a doctor at the University of Texas at Arlington. He ran some tests on me: an oxygen test and the lactate acid threshold test, just to see how good of shape (I'm) in and where (I'm) at."

The results of his test at UTA were mixed but not shocking to the Fort Worth native.

"I did some blood work, and then they put together a program based on the information available. The results of the test told me I was in good shape, but I wasn't in great shape," Lutter admitted.

After controlling the first round against Franklin, the fight slipped away from Lutter in the second frame. Critics were quick to recall Lutter's past cardio issues when citing the main cause for his defeat. Upon his own review of the fight, Lutter points to a right hook thrown by Franklin that caught him on the chin early in the contest.

"It comes down to three different things: A) I got hit early. B) I just don't think I warmed up good enough. I used to be one of those guys who never warmed up. C) I just don't think I was in good enough shape."

In the days following his loss to Franklin, the winner of Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter 4" was abruptly cut by the UFC, making him the first TUF finale winner to leave the promotion.

"I've gotten a couple of offers (since then). I've talked with different organizations," Lutter said. "I'm sure I will reach an agreement with somebody in the near future, just shopping around right now."

At 35 years of age and without a contract from a major promotion, the question of retirement will always be asked until Lutter is physically back in the cage. The 10-year veteran is quick to squash any talk of hanging up the gloves.

"I like to compete," he said. "It's painful to lose. I still don't think I was out of shape. I should have performed better than I did that night.

"I still enjoy going through that whole process. I enjoy fighting and testing myself to see how good I can get. Hopefully I'll get to do that for a few more years."

Arizona Regulates MMA

Arizona joins Georgia and North Carolina as the latest states to adopt the unified rules for mixed martial arts combat. The Arizona bill was sponsored by Jonathan Paton, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives. An intelligence officer for the U.S. Army Reserve, Paton became a fan of MMA during his infantry training in Fort Benning, Ga. When he returned to Arizona, he began working out at Arizona Combat Sports, one of the top professional gyms in the Southwest, which has produced such fighters as current WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner (Pictures) and TUF 7 cast member C.B Dollaway.

"I heard a lot of the fighters at Arizona Combat Sports complain that they had to leave the state to fight," Paton recalled. "By talking to other members of the House and Senate, I realized we could probably get this thing through. We had to negotiate a lot with the boxing commission, but once we took care of that we knew we were going to get it."

So, how does post-practice banter become a law?

"If you saw ‘School House Rocks,' when a bill becomes a law, it's really no different than that," he said. "It goes through committees and gets voted on in one chamber a couple of times, then goes over to the other chamber, then it finally goes up to the governor's office."

Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the bill into law on April 28, 2008. The idea was set in motion during Paton's time in Iraq. In July 2006, Paton made national headlines when he announced he was being voluntarily deployed to Iraq. Paton became the only state representative to win re-election while deployed in the Middle East.

"I was deployed to Iraq and got back in February of 2007. That's when I knew I wanted to do something with the rules," Paton said. "I started talking to people, and we officially introduced the bill in January. I was thinking about it in Bagdad. We were watching a UFC card, and all the guys were so pumped up about it. I also saw a card in camp Fallujah with the marines and I knew this is what we need in our state."

Ninety days after the state's legislative session ends, which by Paton's estimations should be no later than July 1, Arizona will officially adopt the unified rules of MMA. Expect fight cards in Arizona beginning in October to enforce the unified rules under the boxing commission's supervision.

Paton also said UFC officials told him they might bring the Octagon to Arizona: "Projections from the UFC say they could be doing something as early as the winter of 2009."

With talks of MMA regulation in New York heating up over the past week, Paton encourages voters and MMA fans alike to get involved in the political process if they want to see MMA legalized in their community.

"It's no different for MMA than it is to get the pothole in your road fixed," Paton said. "One, find out who your representatives are and call them. Just let them know what you think. Two, this is an election season not just in Arizona but in New York and around the country. The best way to get your way is to get the right person elected in the first place."

Local Fight Calendar

A bantamweight eliminator is scheduled at the end of the month south of the border.

Antonio Duarte of Mexico takes on Albert Rios of Los Angeles in Tijuana, Mexico, at Cage of Fire XIII. The submission specialist Duarte is riding high on a seven-fight winning streak. His last bout was a technical knockout over Charles Williams in which "Tigre" showcased his punching power.

6/14: XFC - Travis County Expo Center, Austin, Texas
6/21: PCF - Boulder County Fairgrounds, Longmont, Colo.
6/21: TAMMA - Cowboys Dance Hall, San Antonio, Texas
6/28: COF - Tijuana Auditorium, Tijuana, Mexico
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