The fighting was fierce, with kicking and hitting, at the Texas Longhorn Club this past Friday night.

Phil Daley of Daley’s Gym in Lake Charles brought the sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts “Slug Fest” to the arena at the Longhorn.

Daley is a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame and has more than 200 career fights. His career in boxing, promoting and training fighters spans more than 50 years. In addition to his gym in Lake Charles, he has also had gyms in Ragley, La., and Las Vegas.

Mixed Martial Arts is a freestyle mix of kickboxing, boxing, judo, karate, and wrestling. In most rounds the fighters start with some hitting or maybe a kick or two. Before long, they are on the ground and mixing it up with leg holds and a lot of hits to the body and head.

The gloves used are unique to the MMA. They are padded on the hitting side and mostly open on the inside or bottom side. Gloves for the amateurs weigh seven ounces. Gloves for the pros weigh five ounces. They are considerably less padded than conventional boxing gloves.

The rounds for each fight are three, three-minute rounds for the amateurs and three, five-minute rounds for the professional fighters.

The rules are the same for each class, with the exception that the pro fighters can use their elbows in fighting.

Fighters for the “Slug Fest” were scheduled from as near as Orange, Beaumont and Lake Charles, and as far away as Norman, Okla.

Teams included Team Tap, Team Nemesis, Daley’s Warriors, and the Texas Top Team from the Texas Karate Academy in Beaumont, which registered 15 fighters.

As the preparations were made for Friday night’s fights, it was evident that serious things could happen as two paramedics brought into the arena a fully loaded gurney and all the necessary medical equipment. There were also three doctors standing by to assist, if needed.

In addition to the fight being sanctioned by the MMA, there was also a Boxing Commissioner from the state of Louisiana that had control of the conditions of the fighting.

The first fight was in the amateur lightweight class. It was between Jason Ogden and Philip Reyes. The starting action was furious as both fighters mixed it up with blows and kicks and then went to the mat. The pace wore them our early and both were appearing tired at the end of the first round. By the end of the second round, both fighters were barely able to move at the bell signaling the end of the round. Ogden was unable to leave his corner for the third round and the match went to Reyes.

The first match set the pace for the night with the action remaining mostly the same. The fighters would start boxing and kicking and then go to the mat and wrestle. After a pre-determined time the referee would bring them back to their feet and the routine would begin again.

Of the 18 fights scheduled for the night, only 13 were completed. Four of the fighters were no-shows and one fighter had not completed his required physical. The fighters who showed for the matches were given the match by default. Those who did not show were given loud chicken-clucks by the D. J. over the loud speaker system, much to the delight of the crowd who added a few “boos” of their own.

The professional fight of the night was a grudge match between Jeremy Taylor of Oklahoma City, Ok and Marvin Baine of Norman, Okla. Touted as hating each other, they seemed rather friendly before the match started. The pro fighters tend to go to the mat early in the match and stay there. The match was more wrestling than boxing and very few kicks were thrown. The referee called the fighters to their feet four times in the three rounds, but they soon went back to the mat. By the third round the crowd was beginning to chant “stand up, stand up”. It was clear that the crowd wanted to see some boxing and kicking. They were two strong fighters and the blows that were exchanged when they were on the mat were hard and to the area around the head. The fight lasted the full 15 minutes and when it ended the judges awarded the match to Taylor.

The final fight of the night was a heavy weight match between 250-pound James Wells and 255-pound Kent Turner. When the two heavies went to the mat with body slams the noise was almost ear splitting. They would come together like two bulls and grab each other around the body and the stronger of the two would lift the other and they would go down hard. They would stay tied together and exchange some hard blows.

The action was slow, as you would expect from such big men. Turner was clearly getting the better of Wells. Wells was not able to recover from some of the pounding that Turner was giving him and the referee stopped the fight in the first round. The match was awarded to Turner.

In the first few seconds of the first round of the 13th match Justin Carpenter scored a knockout on Philip Stern. This was the fastest of the night and the only knockout.

Michael Watson suffered the only serious injury of the night when he went down hard in match number six and suffered a shoulder separation. He was tended by the doctors and transported to the hospital by ambulance.

There was a lot of action packed into the three-hour period of the fights. The response by the crowd was that of fans of the MMA style of fighting. They were enthusiastic and definitely had favorites of each gym represented.

Friday nights in the Legends Sports Saloon at the Longhorn feature Aimee Breaux and her new band, Southwind.

On April 25, bull riding resumes with round four of the Ring of Fire series and the competition for the $500 custom-made buckle.