Last Saturday I ventured to Newark, Delaware to watch Combat in the Cage’s “12th Strike” Pro/Am MMA event.
One of the most anticipated matches of the night was a title fight between Jesus Martinez from the Fight Factory and Charlie Joseph out of Renzo Gracie’s Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
I’m not exactly sure why, but there was already a lot of heat between the two heading into the fight. The feud between the two fighters only escalated during the fight.
Martinez got off to a strong start in the first round, but Joseph rallied and stole all of his momentum. He had Martinez, the defending champ, on his back and pinned against the cage. From there, he started to land some pretty good shots and when the round ended, Joseph was in control.
What happened from there depends on who you talk to. What’s certain is that Martinez suffered a serious cut above his eye while absorbing Joseph’s ground and pound. Martinez claims he was busted open by an illegal elbow; Joseph claims it was a punch that opened Martinez up.
There are those who have looked at multiple replays and pictures and claim that Joseph never hit Martinez with an illegal shot of any kind while others I have spoken to claim they have seen different angles in which you can see an accidental elbow by Joseph.
There are also different accounts about how and why the fight ended. On Saturday night, I spoke to witnesses who were in the cage who claimed that Martinez refused to continue. Now I am hearing from those who claim that Martinez was willing to continue, but that his trainer, Stephen Haigh took one look at the cut and decided his fighter couldn’t continue.
Despite Joseph being declared the winner, Martinez didn’t react well and ripped the title away from the ring girl and stormed out of the arena. Needless to say, Joseph wasn’t too happy with how Martinez conducted himself.
A war of words between Joseph’s camp and Martinez’s camp is heating up and a rematch appears to be a formality. One one hand, it’s a shame that two great amateur prospects from strong camps are engulfed in a feud that has become highly personal. On the other hand, it is making for great theater.
Joseph’s camp recently released the following video — set to music — in which you can see Martinez storming out with the title. The video is only going to add fuel to the fire.