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Photo of the Day: It's Showtime's Fast and Furious Tournament is a Big Deal @ItsShowtimeNL

The countdown to It's Showtime's huge Fast and Furious tournament is on and there is a lot to be excited over. If you want to know how the media is picking it up internationally, this newspaper clipping of Chris Ngimbi training and breaking down the tournament from a Belgian newspaper.

Ngimbi

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Andy Thrasher Triumphs at 154 lbs Toyota Marathon in Thailand

In a major upset English Muay Thai fighter Andy Thrasher won the 154 lbs Toyota Marathon which took place in Kanchanaburi yesterday. This Muay Thai tournament contained two top Thai fighters,  Prakayseng Kaeyanghadao and Panom Topkingboxing, and anyone who watches these eight man knock out competitions regularly will tell you that it is virtually unheard of for a Thai fighter not to win.

thrasher

Prakayseng is ranked the number one contender at Lumpini Stadium in the highest weight category there, 147 lbs, and Panom is also ranked in the top ten. Both Thais comfortably won their quarter finals with Prakayseng defeating Dom from Sweden in the opening round and Panom winning a decision against Yan Goldenglorygym from Holland.

In the other two quarter finals Rodrigo Alonso from Mexico won a decision over Jonas Risco from Spain and Thrasher defeated Umaro from Uganda also by way of decision at the end of three rounds, with fights being reduced from the normal five due to the quick fire tournament format. 

The two Thai fighters met in the semi finals in a contest which most assumed would decided the winner of the actual tournament. Thrasher was extremely unortunate not to have beaten Panom when the two fought for the WPMF title in Bali earlier this year and he found himself on the receiving end of a decision loss at the end of a fight that even his opponent felt he had done enough to win.

Any hopes he had of avenging that loss were extinguished when Prakayseng emerged victorious in the semi final after getting the nod from the judges. Thrasher still had a semi final of his own to worry about but he won a decision over Alonso to set up a Toyota Marathon final with Prakayseng with THB 300,000 in prize money on offer for the winner.

Winning a decision against a Thai fighter in Thailand is no easy task for a foreign fighter. After over 200 fights you learn how to fight in a style which the judges, who are of course also from Thailand, will appreciate and Prakayseng is as experienced as they come. Without wishing to be overly cynical I think it is fair to day that in a highly publicized tournament which is being broadcast live on national television in Thailand and has a significant amount of prize money at stake a 'farang' is going to have to do something pretty emphatic if they want to win.

Thrasher did just that, knocking out the number one ranked Lumpini contender in the second round to claim a surprise victory. This performance must instantly make the Nak Muay from Manchester one of the top fighters in Thailand at 154 lbs. He seems to get constantly overlooked by the prestigious shows such as Thai Fights, Thailand vs Challenger and the Muay Thai Premier League but promoters will surely be taking a much closer interest in his career after such an impressive performance at the Toyota Marathon yesterday.

His success is in no small part due to the trainers at Jitti Gym in Bangkok who have an excellent record of producing top class foreign fighters such as Liam Harrison, who was unfortunate to be knocked out from the Thai Fights tournament last year despite winning both his fights after being unable to make weight beore the semi final. 

For more information about Andy Thrasher and Jitti Gym visit: http://www.jittigym.com/

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Alistair Overeem Leaves Golden Glory

Alistair OvereemThere have been a lot of rumors swirling around team Golden Glory for the past few months, a lot of them good until they got bad. The bad started with Bas Boon having to take an emergency leave from his duties to get surgery over the summer. Boon's surgery happened right in the middle of a lot of big business deals, including negotiations with Kickboxing organizations and handling Alistair Overeem's contract negotiations with Zuffa for both Strikeforce and UFC.

Recently, Alistair appeared in a video posted by our network cohort MiddleEasy where Alistair was discussing his future and contemplating a move to California. This move also included training at another gym and joining another team. I've also heard that Overeem has spoken with individuals in the US who handle his sponsorships about dealing with them exclusively, not with Golden Glory after the mess that happened with Strikeforce. Apparently the statements made by Overeem on Ariel Helwani's show were not of his own or even Bas Boon's machinations, and led to Alistair and a few of his teammates being fired from Strikeforce just before the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP.

Today Overeem made a statement on his Twitter account confirming that he has indeed left Golden Glory. The statement claims that Alistair has lost his trust and that the relationship between his longtime team and himself is beyond repair. As always, when Alistair is speaking for himself he is classy, brief and makes no enemies.

CagePotato reached out to Bas Boon for comment, and he seemed confused and taken aback at the situation. According to Bas Boon there is still a management contract in place, and everything is alright in his eyes as long as that is still honored. From what we've heard, Golden Glory's management contracts give a larger cut to the management than traditional contracts do in the United States, but they always include training at their gyms with the team and the special treatment that Golden Glory provide. With Overeem no longer training and representing the team, it seems like they might butt heads in the near future.

This, along with a UFC contract seem to all but declare Alistair Overeem's K-1 career dead, sadly.

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Jake Shields and the Persistence of Loss

Jake Ellenberger d. Jake ShieldsApologies in advance for the non-Kickboxing content, but this is my site and I'm allowed to post whatever I please.

Are MMA fans heartless? This is a question I find myself asking on the morning after UFC put forth one of their weakest cards to date, headlined by Jake Shields vs. Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger did something that only one other man has done and that was knock Shields out, which is impressive. It is impressive when you consider the strikes Shields had held strong against, from Martin Kampmann, Paul Daley, Dan Henderson, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit and so on. Jake Shields has been a guy who has always held strong against guys who can hit hard, and even held his own against guys with a more well-rounded ground game than him.

So the question is, what happened against Jake Ellenberger? Ellenberger is a former KOTC and IFL veteran who was added to UFC’s roster to little fanfare and has just accumulated his fifth win in a row in the UFC, which would be impressive until you look over the list of opponents. Jake Shields is far and away the biggest win of his career and no one can ever take away that accomplishment. Ellenberger proved the age old adage in MMA that styles make fights, and Ellenberger has a solid Div II wrestling background, a blue belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu and years of kickboxing training under his belt. Without a doubt Ellenberger is well rounded and at age 26 could have a career as a contender, with his win over Shields being a launching point. We’ve seen fighters in other divisions get title shots for less, especially in a division like Welterweight that has almost entirely been cleaned out by the champion, Georges St. Pierre.

Ellenberger was a tough fight for Jake Shields no matter how you looked at it, but there was a factor that played into the fight that not everyone can understand or empathize with. Jake Shields lost his father, Jack Shields on August 29th suddenly, without warning. Jack Shields was working on securing sponsorships for this fight when he sat down to rest and never got back up. By all accounts, Jack Shields was an important figure in Jake Shields’s life, described as always going out of his way to be around his son while training or fighting. A bond between a father and son like that serves as a lifelong best friend, mentor and many, many other things.

As I stated before, no one can take away what Ellenberger accomplished last night, as he did his job and racked up the biggest win of his career, but a lot of talk about Jake Shields right now is confusing at best, heartless considering the facts. Many have decided to dissect Jake Shields and his career, deciding that after a loss to GSP and now a loss to Ellenberger to claim that Jake Shields has been overrated by fans and that his career benefited from being outside of the UFC. I’ll argue that any fighter can get caught on a bad night by a strike that lays them out, that styles make fights and even the best fighters in the world have losses, but that isn’t the issue. The issue is Jake Shields is a human being and the loss of a close loved one is something that until you experience it, empathizing with it can be difficult.

Jake Shields is of course an athlete, that is his profession and it places him and every move he does in the public eye. That being said, Jake Shields is first and foremost a human being who just suffered an insurmountable loss. To lose a loved one quickly, without a chance to brace yourself and mentally prepare for it is traumatizing and in some cases crippling. I understand that for Jake fighting and continuing on felt like the right decision, as I can say I’ve done similar when in a similar position. Everyone thinks that they are tougher than they really are, and that doing something constructive can help keep them grounded, but the truth is everyone reacts differently to circumstances like this. Jake Shields has a rough road ahead coping with the loss of his father and in light of this loss should take some time to regroup and reflect.

On the other hand, Jake Shields doesn’t necessarily deserve a pass for a loss, but instead some human empathy and let him recover and give him a chance to fight again before declaring him overrated, washed up and a bum.

If you for some reason can claim that when fighting there are no excuses or any other tough guy mantra, realize that everyone has achilles heels, that no one is invincible. After the loss of his sister, Vitor Belfort pulled out a win over Randy Couture, sure, but in the year to follow he pulled together a four fight losing streak and many said something in him had fundamentally changed. Some artists, writers and musicians never recover from a loss and spend the rest of their careers and lives living inside of their heads ruminating their loss. Famous American author and poet Edgar Allen Poe was so crushed by the loss of his wife that friends had found him sleeping on her grave months after her death, with many of his works after her death being credited to being about her loss.

So I urge you, before deciding that Jake Shields “sucks” and was “never any good” try to remember that he is human and should be given at least one shot at redemption before we collectively judge the state of his career.

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