“I present to you, the three time reigning champion, Alex Belfour!” announced one of the greats of the underground fighting community, 32 year old Gavin Tanner.
The crowd cheered as a hooded figure walked through the path created by the mass of people. The fighter wasn’t big – maybe 5′8 and 145lbs, max – at all. Yet, in such a tiny build, there was more of a fighter’s spirit in her than in that of half the underground street fighters in this competition. Clad in a pair of shorts that were far too big for her and an oversized hoodie, a pair of white trainers stepped onto the mat; a 38′ x 38′, lightweight, wrestling competition style foam bounded by vinyl and polyester mat.
From the opposite side of the painted-on white ring another figure emerged. He, however, wasn’t as covered as his opponent. In just a pair of simple black shorts and boxing shoes, he stood at the edge of the ring and wrapped his hands in a pair of gloves.
These underground fights weren’t as structured as boxing. This was a combination of just about every type of fighting skill; karate, kickboxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, jujutsu, and close quarters combat, to name a few. That’s probably why it drew in so many fighters. Everyone wanted the chance to get into the ring with someone else they thought they could beat and walk away with a hunk of change for doing it.
Most of the people entering these competitions were male; big, buff, rough and tough males expecting to beat up another male. Especially in the final fight for all the money.
“The challenger for Alex this evening, Blade Dragon, undefeated for the night!”
The smell of blood mixed with sweat and puke in the air. But that never stopped people from coming to the fights to watch Alex take on her next opponent. And even though they couldn’t always fit into the warehouse Alex was fighting in, people would bunch up near the doors just to hear what was happening inside.
There were two people on Blade’s flanks, dabbing his face with a damp towel and squirting water into his mouth. No one stood behind Alex other than Gavin. He knew Alex better than anyone else did, and he wouldn’t trust anyone else with the task.
He stepped back, receiving word that the bell was moments away from ringing, and gave Alex a nod. She nodded back, dropping her hands to the hem of her sweater before pulling it over her head. She tossed her hoodie over to Gavin before he handed her a pair of black leather gloves.
Blade studied her and watched her every move. Her movement captivated him, had his eyes glued to her tiny frame even as she prepped herself for the fight. Her brown hair was pulled into a high pony tail, her bangs held back with a head band, preventing it from falling into her clear blue eyes. Her body was clad in baggy shorts, much like his own, and a simple white tank top, the same thing that all the other fighters wore.
Yet she held his attention firmly.
Gavin walked back into the ring. “You know the rules; knock out or tap out to win. No eye gouging and no shots to the groin.”
Alex and Blade walked to the middle of the ring, with Gavin in between the two, and just stared at each other. Alex had seen him fight before and he was good, he had a technique similar to hers. However, she didn’t consider him a big threat because she disregarded Gavin’s questioning stare for not putting her mouth guard in.
When the bell rang, Alex stuck her gloved fist out for a bump, which he returned, before the two broke out into their fighting stance. Everyone in the crowd started cheering and chanting names; the roar of everyone was positively deafening.
Five minutes into the fight and both were standing strong, something that was unusual when fighting against either Alex or Blade. The crowd had gotten even more unruly than before. Gavin was close to having a heart attack, his ‘little girl’ wasn’t winning nor close to it. Blade and Alex were evenly matched.
Blade landed a punch to Alex’s ribs and she stumbled back, clutching her side in agony. He took this as an opportunity to take the upper hand and pounced forward, landing an uppercut to her jaw and landed another jab to her ribs. The crowd went nuts.
Alex ended up with her back mere inches away from the crowd with blood dripping from her split lip and a few sore ribs; not the worst she’d been banged up but she usually got in worse damage seconds after. She felt horrible, the pain in her side was unbearable and she was sure she’d have to take a dreaded trip to the hospital after this.
Mustering up all the strength she could she pushed herself forward and threw jab after jab at his stomach, tempting him to drop his guard from his face. She could feel a few ribs start to concave as her fist made contact with his rock hard chest. Finally, his guard came down and she switched motives. Upper cut, upper cut, right hook, upper cut, jab, left hook. And that’s all it took for him to start wobbling around the ring.
A smirk pulled up the corners of her split lip as she advanced. Blade, expecting her to hit him, pulled his arms up to cover his face. Wrong move, she thought as she tackled him to the floor, maneuvering so she had him in a secure arm lock. She pulled back on it, waiting to hear his bone pop or snap out of place.
As she continued to put pressure on it, Blade squeezed his eyes shut in pain. There was no way he was going to let a girl beat him, especially not with his father in the audience with his ‘friends’. The pain was quickly becoming just too much for him to handle. But he was a fighter; he’d get out of this somehow.
A loud crack silenced the crowd before Alex released Blade’s now broken arm and straddled his chest. She began throwing punches at his face when he didn’t tap out. Doesn’t this guy know when to quit? She thought as she heard the crunch after her fist connected with his nose. But he still didn’t tap out.
Gavin stood along the sidelines, helplessly left to watch his little girl beat up the bloodied mess that once was a man.
Alex wanted this to be over. Reeling her fist back one final time, she threw it forward with all her might and connected it with his jaw. A deafening pop echoed through the small warehouse. Everyone stood frozen and even Alex stopped moving. Slowly, she stood and looked down at Blade. There was so much blood on his face that it was nearly impossible make out the deathly pale colour of his skin.
The bell rang before Gavin rushed forward and pulled Alex a safe distance away from Blade. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he shouted, “the four time reigning champion; Miss Alex Belfour!”
A group of men pushed through the crowd and collected Blade from the ground as the crowd erupted into chants of, “Alex! Alex!” She smiled brightly as Gavin raised her right arm high in the air.
Easiest three grand she’d ever made.