26
Oct
08

Ultimate Fighting = Ultimate Photographs

For my sports assignment, I went to photograph “Battle at the Blue Note 8.”  It is an Ultimate Fight match or “Mixed Martial Arts” match that takes place in a caged ring.  “Ultimate Fighting” is actually a brand of Mixed Martial Arts and is confused for the name of the sport (including by me).  Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States despite pressure from social and political entities who call it too brutal.  John McCain a few years back called it “human cockfighting.” (There goes that vote…). Recently, more rules have been added (or at least enforced) to help the sport come back from the underground and it is increasing in popularity.

The thing I found most interesting was that many of the fighters knew each other or were actually friends.  In the ring, they want to kill each other.  But, once the match is over, its all hugs and respect.  What?  You just broke my nose?  No problem!  Lets go get some beers to ease the pain!!  I like it…

This event was sports feature photo heaven and it’s something I definitely will try and pursue in the future.  It’s just something different from the same old football, soccer, and basketball shots that I have been taking for the last 4 years.

I should also add that most of these photos were taken with the Nikon D3 (I betrayed my Canon roots for a night).  It blew me away.  The first 3 photos were shot at 5000 ISO at 1/40 of a second and you can barely tell.  It makes me want to switch to Nikon.

Also, thanks to all the fighters and organizers who let me get in their way for a night. If you want to read more into MMA in Missouri (and the Midwest) Click Here. Also see the Columbia Missourian article on the event.  Enjoy:

In a laundry room beneath the Blue Note’s stage, Jeremy Monroe mentally prepares himself before his fight at ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia.

In a laundry room beneath the Blue Note’s stage, Jeremy Monroe mentally prepares himself before his fight at ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia. Monroe says he listens to music from the movie '300' to prepare for his fights.

Jeremy Monroe tries to convince his trainer to snap his nose back into place after losing his fight and breaking his nose in the process.

Jeremy Monroe and hugs his opponent Jake Thorton after being defeated in the first matchup of the night.  Even though Thorton broke Monroe's nose, the two planned on getting beers later that night.

Jake Thorton (left) makes amends with his opponent Jeremy Monroe (right) after breaking his nose and defeating him in the first match of the night. Despite the injury, the two planned on getting beers later that night.

Marla Kay (left) grabs her opponent Stefanie Lavender (right) into a headlock during during “Battle at the Blue Note 8” in Columbia Friday, Oct. 24, 2008.  “All you can think about is how much you want to kill that person,” says Kay.  Once the fight is over though, Kay and Lavender have nothing but respect for each other.

Marla Kay (left) grabs her opponent Stefanie Lavender (right) into a headlock during “Battle at the Blue Note 8” in Columbia Friday, Oct. 24, 2008. “All you can think about is how much you want to kill that person,” says Kay. Once the fight is over though, Kay and Lavender have nothing but respect for each other.

Ultimate fighter Marla Kay sits sickened from exhaustion in an alley behind the Blue Note after a winning her match in the second round during ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia.

Marla Kay sits sickened from exhaustion in an alley behind the Blue Note after a winning her match in the second round.

In the final matchup of the night, Missouri State Heavyweight Champion Kevin Croom (left) sets up to punch his opponent Ronnie Meret during ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia.  Croom won the fight just over a minute into the second round.

In the final match up of the night, Missouri State Heavyweight Champion Kevin Croom (left) sets up to punch his opponent Ronnie Meret during ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia. Croom won the fight just over a minute into the second round.

And finally, a shot from the remote camera I hooked onto one of the light bars above the ring.  I didn’t really know how they would turn out since I couldn’t get to the camera once the bar was raised.  Not bad, but next time I would want the camera zoomed in a little more.  A big thanks to the crew who kept raising and lowering the bar for me:

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