By: Albert Miller – First and foremost, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that fighters, promoters, and the public at large have given Cage Nation TV. Without those folks, we’ve got nothing, and that’s the unadulterated truth of it all. I’d like to go on record and thank Next Level Fight Club in a big way for allowing me to cover the fight this weekend. It was a great opportunity to see quality fights, to see familiar faces, and to meet new people. I maintain the position that I am a fight fan who is lucky enough to exist in a fighter’s universe.
With all of that being said, Next Level Fight Club’s event this weekend really can’t be contained to the coverage that we had done. There was still so much that I was discovering (and still am), I have thoughts that I need to get out, and I am very interested in your perspective as well.
One yard. Three feet. That’s how close I was to “Coach” Chase Gamble being slammed all the way to unconsciousness. I remember the air leaving my lungs and my heart stopping when Gamble hit the mat, and being rattled by what I had witnessed. The beautiful thing about the sport of MMA is that all of the techniques that are legal in MMA are legal in the Olympics. The slam that Allen Crowder employed against “Coach” Gamble can also be found in Greco-Roman Wrestling, and even Judo. The important aspect to keep your focus on is that Gamble got up and will fight another day.
What’s almost as impressive as the Herculean slam that ended the fight was how the fight came to be. On the Prizefight Podcast this week, we broke down the Next Level Fight Club card, and Allen Crowder was to defend his title against Bellator MMA veteran Richard White. According to varying sources, White did show up to Raleigh to fight, but was unable to make weight. Richard White was over the three-hundred pound mark when he weighed in officially, but Allen Crowder (who weighed in at two hundred and forty pounds) was still willing to fight. Had the fight with White gone through, Allen Crowder would have been giving up nearly seventy pounds; Crowder knew this and was still unwilling to back down. Unfortunately, because Richard White could not make the two hundred and sixty five pound weight limit, White vs. Crowder was cancelled by the North Carolina Boxing Authority (NCBA).
Be warned, you may experience whiplash trying to follow how fast promoters were able to find a replacement. White weighed in, and the fight was cancelled, on Friday night. NCBA had given promoters the opportunity to find a replacement for White, with the caveat that the replacement had to make weight, and that all medical examinations were current. I have seen the Ultimate Fighting Championship cancel entire events over having a main event fall apart like that; to be able to find a replacement, with current medicals, on twelve hours’ notice would be nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps Chase Gamble should change his nickname from “Coach” to “Houdini.”
A lot of credit needs to go out all around: the promoters, match makers, Crowder himself, but certainly to Chase Gamble; without Gamble, there would have been no main event to occur. Did you know that “Coach” Chase Gamble is a natural Light Heavyweight? In fact, Gamble was the Next Level Fight Club Amateur Light Heavyweight champion. Gamble is a sturdy fighter with some undeniable grappling skills. But, pardon the pun, taking a fight against a natural Heavyweight when you yourself are a natural Light Heavyweight is a gamble. Both of your main eventers for the evening were in tough spots: Crowder had been preparing for a fight with a much larger man, preparing himself for a much different resistance than what Gamble was going to offer. Gamble had to get into fight mode in twelve hours, so he essentially fought with no training camp that could prepare him for Allen Crowder. Because two men agreed to fight whoever the promoters put in front of them, a main event was saved. There was no ego involved, no disagreements over this or that, two athletes were ready to compete.
Ask yourself: what’s worse? Having no time to prepare or preparing for a completely different competition? Let’s not take anything away from either man, Allen Crowder was just as prepared for Chase Gamble as Chase Gamble was prepared for Allen Crowder. I have seen quite a few “last minute replacement” fights, and they rarely benefit the last man to the mat in those cases. If you re-watch the video, there were times where Gamble’s wrestling had Crowder scrambling to improve his own defensive position. Crowder was able to shoot for takedowns, work side-control, escape defensively, and apply submissions offensively. Crowder slammed Gamble once to escape a submission attempt, the second time that the champ had to slam the opposition, he was playing for keeps.
If you haven’t seen it, I can tell you that the entire card is worth buying the replay from FloCombat.Com. Check it out and thank me later.