Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: Jacked up.

Yes, another FNT post and it's not even August. We held our first event in the MMA Jacked sim on Friday. Originally intended to be a sanctioned title fight between Lightweight Champion JoJo863 Nightfire and challenger Calvinizm2g Quan, at some point we just decided to shoot the works and hold a full-fledged event.

Wanting to take no chances, we got there an hour early to prepare. We made sure everyone was in place well before start time, and we had drawn a good crowd in the stands at the beachside ring bleachers (more on the setting in a future post; I took some nice pics of the Jacked island landmarks, so expect a flurry of photography soon in this space).

Finally, it was showtime. I jumped into the ring, microphone at the ready, made a few preliminary announcements and then-

- my connection dropped. The one that was supposed to have been fixed last week. Verizon's Merry Pranksters had struck again.

After getting on the horn with Verizon tech support again (and extracting a gee-golly-gosh-I-swear-we'll-fix-it-this-time from them - I don't believe them), the line finally came up just as I was about to call it a night and go to bed. So on with the show.

When I had crashed out I had been standing in the middle of the ring. If this were in Averlast Gym, that wouldn't have been a problem, since the rings there are parcelled out as to make it impossible for anyone to log in or teleport into them. Our ring in Jacked, I seemed to recall, was not similarly blessed. So I set Preferences to take me to my home location (the gym, of course) instead. Happily, Karine (who had been covering for me as announcer, bless her) was alert for my return and sent a limo taking me right back to Jacked.

I resumed my duties with a giddy eagerness. I'm a ham, I admit it. While I'm often quiet in one-on-one situations, I have never experienced this thing that men call "stage fright".

For me, the match of the night was Juliette Pashinin vs. Link McCann. Juli had been riding an unbeaten streak going into the match, which was given extra piquancy by the fact that she and Link are, in fact, a couple. It was a wild, back-and-forth affair as they went at it. The crowd loved it. Each fighter seemed to answer the other's blows one-for-one, and in the end Link had edged out his girlfriend by the barest of margins: A mere two points.

I smell rematch.

The main event, the title fight, was something I could only term a heartbreaker. JoJo and Calvin ably piled into each other for the first two rounds, definitely giving the divided crowd what they came for. But in the third and final round, lag bit down on JoJo hard. JoJo is a trouper though, and tried to stave off Calvin as best she could, but in the end it was Calvin's fight. We have a new Lightweight Champion.

Would Calvin still have won had not the lag hit, or would JoJo have successfully staved off his challenge? It's a question that for now must remain academic. JoJo has moved on into the waiting Middleweight Division, and Calvin awaits his first title defense from the ranks of his fellow lightweights.

I'm looking forward to more events at MMA Jacked, especially since, as they have their own club on the sim, you never have to go far to find the after party.

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