Crowd roars at casino fight night


LINCOLN CITY — The PC police were barred at the gates Saturday as more than a thousand MMA fans roared at the notion of drinking, smoking, gambling and brawling — all the beloved vices — under one roof during fight night at Chinook Winds Casino.

The 10-fight card, staged by California-based King of the Cage, resounded with bone-jarring kicks, thudding body blows and lightning-fast punches that knocked-out lights.

The sound of cash registers ringing around town might have been heard but for the roar of the 1,000-strong crowd.

“We definitely sell out of motel rooms, and the food and beverage sales are great,” said a casino official who monitored a busy no-host bar at the back of a crowded ballroom. “I’ve been involved since we first began staging MMA at Chinook Winds, and we’ve doubled in the last nine years.”

The economic impact of mixed martial arts, or MMA, on Lincoln City is not hard to imagine. Even as the excess food and lodging business spill over into the other quarters of town, King of the Cage promoter Jeff Mahalek starts the residual flood of cash by writing checks at ringside to fighters, assistants, managers, part-time workers, licensing agencies and vendors.

“This is the fastest growing professional sport in the world,” said Mahalek, who estimated that a single fighter can draw up to 300 paying fans from Eugene, Portland or Vancouver. “Hundreds of thousands of people around the world will see this night on TV. It’s great for Lincoln City.”

KING OF THE CAGE FIGHT RESULTS

Chinook Winds Casino, Feb. 2

FIGHT #1, Freddie Johnson def. Diego Madrigal, Unan. Dec. (29-28, 29-28, 28-27)

FIGHT #2, Asa Carlile def. Anthony Roque, Split Dec. (29-28 Roque, 29-28 Carlile, 29-28 Carlile)

FIGHT #3, Ramon Valdez def. Trevor Simpson, Unan. Dec. (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

FIGHT #4, Alex Campos def. Steven Chang, Knockout, 0:49 Round 1

FIGHT #5, Isaac Shelton def. Ian King, Tap Out/Rear Naked Choke, 2:09 Round 2

FIGHT #6, David Converse def. Richard Carranza, Unan. Dec. (30-25, 30-26, 29-27)

FIGHT #7 Christopher San Jose def. Rick James, Unan. Dec. (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

FIGHT #8 Tyler Smith def. Brandon Nunn, Tap Out/Arm Bar, 1:55 Round 1

FIGHT #9 Brandon Waltz def. Donnie Johnson, Tap Out/Rear Naked Choke, 1:06 Round 1

FIGHT #10, Eric McConico def. Zack Bunnell, TKO/Strikes, 1:15 Round 3

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