Home Updated: 2/10/02 List Entry

ToughMan Promoters

Date: 9/8/02
Location: Peoria Civic Center
Reason: The first year we went to the Toughman, it was held in the Peoria Civic Center arena. It was $14.00 per person for lower bowl seating and $7.00 a piece for upper bowl. There were also ringside seats available, however, I do not remember the cost. The main benefit of being in the arena was the fact that the seats were elevated allowing for excellent viewing of the entire ring. The second year was pretty much the same. On the third year, the fights were moved to the Exhibition hall and the tickets raised to $20.00 a piece for general seating and $30.00 per seat for ringside. Since we didn't know the seating arrangements, we went ahead and bought the $20.00 tickets. Turns out, they simply set up folding chairs on the floor with the first 10 rows being reserved for the idiots paying $30.00 a piece. Already two take-aways - added $6.00 to the ticket price and now the seats sucked. In addition, they took away the prize money and didn't tell any of the fighters - basically, the winner gets a coat, a trophy, and the chance to move on to the regional finals. I also saw the owner of a local fighter club(NHB) ripping into a Toughman representative. Later I found out that he had donated the use of their ring and had entered a number of their members into the contest. Needless to say, they didn't mention the prize money removal to him either.

That brings us to this year. During the week leading up to the event, radio spots were advertising that the tickets were $15.00 a piece. Since a good friend of ours participates in this event (the main reason we attend) and the ticket prices were reduced, we decided to go again. As we are entering the place, a Civic Center employee was removing a Toughman flier from the locked display case. Noting how odd that was, we went to the ticket booth and ordered our tickets. To our surprise, the clerk says the cost is $40.00 ($20.00/ticket). In shock, I asked him what was up upon which he states "It was a mis-advertised, if you have a problem with that, take it up with the promoter." My guess is the flier that was conveniently removed had $15.00 on it as well. Now were stuck since I had promised our friend (who was fighting) we would be there and other people from work were suppose to meet us there. Angrily I paid the $40.00. Needless to say, everyone was complaining about the screw job they got. If that wasn't bad enough, every half-way close fight ended in a draw so they could get more fights the second night. One of our friends that was suppose to meet us, called us just minutes after the first fight indicating that he refused to pay $60.00 ($30.00/ticket) to see the fights. I offered up the $20.00 option, but he said they were claiming they were out of those tickets and only the higher ones were left. Now keep in mind, that this is a huge exhibition area on which at least 30% of the room was left empty. A large number of people were just standing around and there were plenty of $20.00 seats available. Then the announcer went on and on about the TKD martial arts demonstration they were going to have, however, that never happened either. Needless to say, we didn't bother with drinks or food the entire night to make up for the theft that occurred at the ticket window. I should also point out that the club owner that provided the ring the previous year did not show this year, nor did any of his fighters!


Against my better judgement, I decided to see my friend fight the second night. This meant leaving my wife at home because I didn't feel like wasting another 20 bucks. If you are keeping count, that equates to ToughMan stealing 15 bucks at the box office (3x$5.00) and then losing 20 bucks because they lost a ticket sale. As you probably assumed, there were no food or drink purchases made this night either. Now for the unbelievable portion of the story. We were originally told their were 9 light heavyweight fighters for the nights card. This results in a single bye which is a huge benefit in this sport. If you do not believe me, go out and hit a bag for three one minute rounds. If that isn't enough, imagine getting hit during that time as well. The fighter I went to see won his first match in the third round. We lost track of the bouts, but eventually they announced that they were going to have an intermission. After talking to my friends, we decided there was at least one fighter that had not fought yet. My assumption is this was the bye fighter, however, there appeared to be another fighter that had not fought yet. Confused, we sat down for the remaining fights. First up came the bye fighter and his opponent turns out to be someone who already fought that night. During the fight, the opponent fighting his second fight ended up injuring his elbow, however, he finished the fight and appeared to win. The announcer comes in and proclaims the other fighter the winner. This caused a huge stir in the crowd along with synchronized chants indicating their disgust for the call. The fighter that we though won was also showing his displeasure for the call. Next up was our fighter. Turns out he also has to fight someone who had not fought yet. During the fight someone from our school was giving the officials at ringside a bunch of crap for the obvious error. By the second round, the official finally admitted he made a mistake, but the fight was too far in to change. Although more fatigued than the new fighter, our fighter made it to the end but in a losing effort. After the heavyweight semi finals were over, it was determined that neither of the fighters from the first fight after intermission could continue. Our fighter was then given the opportunity to fight the winner of the other semi-finalist match. To our amazement, he went all three rounds and won the bout. This put him in the final bout.

After a quick rest while a heavyweight match was fought, he headed back to the ring to fight the same fighter who beat him two bouts ago. Quick round summary, our fighter had fought 9 rounds, the other had fought 3. See anything wrong here? The fight goes on, but our fighter was showing signs of fatigue and couldn't keep up with the fresh legs of his opponent. End results was our fighter stopping it after 2 with a broken nose. Although he took 2nd, this is a victory in our book since he ended up fighting 11 rounds to his opponents 5. All of this because the officials couldn't get their head out of their *ss.

If that wasn't enough, the heavyweight fight ended in controversy as well. One of the fighters ended up being from the same hometown as someone I was sitting with. He beat the crap out of a 350 pounder earlier in the night and ended up being paired with someone who had won the ToughMan 10 years ago. Now get this, the previous winner was being sponsored by a local bar that in turn was sponsoring the fights. The fight went all three rounds and my friends fighter was the constant aggressor and in our opinion won the fight. Par for the course of the night, the announcer gives it to the bar (and thus ToughMan) sponsored fighter. A similar crowd reaction occurred as in the lightweight fight. Side note, a group in the audience was chanting the non-sponsored fighters nickname which sounded a little bit like the name of the local bar. The bar owner thought they were chanting for her fighter and started jumping up and down in front of them and joined in the chanting although she was using the bar's name. Eventually someone told her how stupid she was looking which sent her running back to her chair in embarrassment. The bar sponsored fighter ended up winning it all, but word has it he also had over 200 boxing bouts under his belt. I hope you enjoy my money, you're not getting anymore!

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