Rougheart MMA Journal

Joshua Beranis covers the mixed martial arts scene in Kitsap County and beyond.
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A new young gun comes onboard with Rougheart MMA Journal, and (stuff) gets real…

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

My name is Cody Lemley. I am 22 years old and have been an mma junkie for the last 10 years. I remember the first fight to get me hooked when Randy Couture gave Tito Ortiz a thorough beating over 5 rounds to capture the light heavy weight crown. I have never been the most athletic guy on the planet but have trained in BJJ and Boxing because of my love for mma. I rarely miss a live UFC event and if i do i stream it asap. I am not your typical fight fan. 90% of all  fans worship two names; GSP and Anderson Silva. I think they may have little understanding of the big picture. They are naive MMA fans, kind of like the Sea Hawks crowd blowing up fan base in the recent years. I met my bro Josh about 7 months ago and we hit it off instanlty. I hope to work along side him and give the hardcore and  mid-level fans alike some insight into local and pro mma . I know with my fighting knowledge and Josh’s writing expertise, along with our combined love of MMA this will be the s*#!!!!!!!!!!

   (This update was edited and approved by Joshua Beranis of Rougheart MMA Journal without any authorization by the Kitsap Sun or their affiliates.)


Battle at the Boat 91 on 23 March, my first shot at covering boxing

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

On 23 March, I am going to be making a progression toward boxing. I will be attending Brian Halquist’s popular Emerald Queen promotion “Battle at the Boat”. This will be their 91st installment. Boxing is incorporated into MMA training, and I have seen its place in the Mandala of fighting techniques and schools within the MMA world.

I have seen wrestling take its place in the sport, as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have seen boxing take a strange form, and martial arts of all sorts, from the secret arts of Arnese, to the popular mainstream arts such as boxing and Tae Kwon Do. They all have a place in MMA.
Boxing is still alive and well, and today’s boxing idols are even highly revered by the head fighters in the professional circuit of MMA. I am sure quite a few local pros would love to see how Floyd Money Mayweather stands against them in the cage.
That isn’t what this is about though. I am not asking about which sport is better, which is more important, etc. I am looking for origins, more fight-language. This will improve the MMA coverage.


Join me in the “Cutter Club” at the Point Casino, tonight after the MMA event…

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

I have a lot of thinking to do, and notes to go over. There are dozens of atheletes arriving to this evenings Cage Warrior Combat event, and the writing will start immediately. So you will find me after the lights dim around the cage, enjoying a fine cigar and a glass of cognac in the luxurious Cutter Club cigar lounge as I put some words to paper, and possibly even interview some of Kitsap’s great fighters.


Happy Holidays from Rougheart MMA Journal. Hope to see you all on the first of December.

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Save that date people. Get on Brownpaper tickets and get your seats while you still can. I’ve heard a rumor that this “Pummel At The Point” is going to have quite the crowd.
We have Matt Kovacs, Carl Edwards, Dustin Praxedes, our favorite Oregonians from Red Neck Militia, and you’d better believe that all three of our gyms from Bremerton are going to be pumped up and ready for a fight.
Yours truly is going to be stepping into the cage for the first time as well, against Valholl Brewing’s Jeff Holcomb. Tag me on facebook, and shout out to your favorite fighters. Contact me if you want interviews.
Have a safe and happy holiday season. Hear from you soon.


My only real fear about the fight? Running out of steam…

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

When I first tried to do a Tuesday conditioning session with Full Circle Fight Club of Bremerton, I was smoking about a pack of camels a day, and the most excersise I got was while I worked at the hospital.
James Bergstrom had incorporated a jump-roping session into the conditioning workout, and I remember thinking that if it wasn’t for the embarassment of people seeing me give up, I would have just rolled over and fallen asleep on the mats. It was an awful display of my lack of endurance, flinging those ropes around like my arms were made of tar, and like my legs weighed three hundred pounds each.

That burn you feel in your stomach, and in your muscles, and in your lungs, if you’ve ever tried to push yourself further than you comfortably want to go, faster when your body is telling you to slow down, was enough to drive me away from trying it again. I had to make changes. That I knew.

Well, the birth of my now eight month old daughter Harper marked the beginning of my battle against cigarettes. I am officially a non-smoker, and on my daughter’s first birthday, I will be celebrating a year without cigarettes.
I owe a lot of that to the realization that something was severely wrong while I worked out at Full Circle to try to get a taste of what MMA was about.
So now, with what I feel is a new set of lungs, and a bit more of a fire under my ass about getting into shape, my fight with Jeff Holcomb is fast approaching.
I still have a ton of work to do in the way of interviewing Tad Bremer and Mingo Reyna of Cage Warrior Combat, who I have heard are expecting a pretty decent turnout for Decembers “Pummel at the Point”. In addition to that, I have a dozen very serious bouts to consider coverage on for the paper.
I am hoping to get all three gyms, Rough House, Hybrid, and Full Circle, on front pager. Something about the holiday season seems to be getting these MMA fighters pepped up, and I think it is just that this is what they love to do.

I can’t lose momentum now. Things are too close. I have to get out there, ask the hard questions, and keep bringing that burn. I was excited to make it through a session at Hybrid with Andrew Ramm, and Brock Gorang, who are on the upcoming card. It is encouraging, but humbling, seeing what people in the appropriate condition for an MMA match are capable of.
So keep your fingers crossed for me this week. I am going to be doing a lot of running, a lot of striking, a lot of pushups, sit-ups, eight-count body builders, squats, and dare I even say it… saying my prayers baby.


Conversations both on and off the table: Dustin Praxedes the man, and the fighter.

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to discover that he is an MMA fighter. Even his speech is particular, as if he is prepared for verbal debate. He also has the type of energy which strikes me as that of someone you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of, but I am no psychologist. It could just be that I wouldn’t personally want to get in a bar-room brawl with him. He’s just a bit intimidating up close and personal.
So when I asked Mr. Praxedes about his training regiment for this December 1st “Pummel At The Point”, and he told me “it’s top secret,” with a very serious look on his face, I accepted it as a subject left off the table.
I can honestly tell you that there is a good reason to be excited about his up and coming bout. It has a lot to do with his attitude, which is reserved, serious on a business level, but positive. You could probably pit him in against St. Pierre right now and he would still feel confident. In case someone might feel that is my bias speaking, I am not talking about any certainty that he will triumph, but rather, that he himself feels certain. Good for him too. A record he has not been altogether proud of has been shaking him a bit, and after one victory and a no-show in October on behalf of his opponent, Dustin is starving to climb from the well with every intention of putting his soul into the effort.
“I hear people say it all the time to me,” he tells me from across my kitchen table. “Just getting in the cage is enough because it takes guts. That isn’t good enough for me. If that’s true, than why isn’t just waking up good enough?”
I’ve heard it in the form of a Sikh maxim before. The first act of courage for the day is getting out of bed.
I speak with him again Monday, and meet up with him for a serious one on one, and some pointers for my own bout against Holcomb. I’m down to 214 now from 226 lbs, and still dropping. Keeping it going, and absorbing any inspiration I can from those I have been watching enter the cage on a regular basis.


Month In, Running Hard, Jeff at two gym workouts a day. Am I in for a whoopin?

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

My wife is concerned at this point. I have been running, yes. In fact I did a four mile trek to and from my house Thursday that has left me with wobbly legs and half-broken spirits.

Jeff tells me he is in the gym twice daily now. This is good news. The strain of the fight being only a month away is causing me to step it up a bit on the excersises and running. Down to two full sprints, one in the middle of the run, and one at the immediate end. Leading it right into sets of push-ups and sit ups. Still concerned about stiking techniques. Going to youtube some basics and see what I come up with. Will have to impliment striking into the workout. Hard balance with kids and work in addition to trying to squeeze in training. Very impressed with our local fighters balance of these particularities.


The Week Before Fight-Night, Cage Warrior Combat at The Point Casino, Saturday.

Monday, October 8th, 2012

I have nothing to be stressed about, but regardless, my guts hurt. Last week, I hit up Cage Sport XXI at Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, driving to and from the event, Tacoma and back, Tacoma and back. This was on the invitation of Brian Halquist Productions, who had set me in coordination with Sun Sports to have a seat in a press-box for the fights which would be aired on Root Sports. It was brought to my attention that my presence would be appreciated for a press conference as well. Of course, having a rather glutenous ego, and a far reaching goal of being that “writer-guy” I had always dreamed of becoming, I scraped up gas-cash between my wife and I, and huffed it to the conference and the event.

Equipped with my trusty digital voice recorder, gifted to me from Jeff Holcomb of Valholl Brewery in Poulsbo (sponsorship), a decent camera, Tom Waits new album “Bad As Me” on CD, my lap-top computer, a few pencils and pens, writing paper, I fled Kitsap. The hope was to get an article or a column in the sports section of The Kitsap Sun, and to see a few good fights while doing so.

Brian Halquist even asked Danny Bonaduce to call my house and give me a quick interview. The call popped up as a private number, while I was pulling my daughter out of the tub and wrapping her in a towel. My wife, doing what we usually do when we see a private number on the caller I.D., waited for a message. So my interview with Danny Bonaduce consists of “Hey Josh, this is Danny Bonaduce. Brian Halquist told me to give you a call. Talk to (you) later.”  So Larry King, eat your heart out. That’s how you do a celebrity interview in my town.

I got to the press conference Friday night before the fights, and I guess I was expecting a welcoming committee. I forget that these events are time consuming. The people involved have more to worry about then who comes to cover the story. The fighters are the real rockstars anyways.

I also realized early on that no Kitsap fighters were actually in on the action in the cage. The majority of fighters were from Washington, but all of them were from out of town. Not a lot of hope for a column in the Sunday paper.

At the actual event on Saturday night, I had no idea where to sit as press. So I found a security guard who had helped me with some complications involving my press pass earlier that day.

“Hey, you’ve been the most helpful security guy I’ve run into,” I told him. “Think you might be able to point me in the right direction as to where I’m seated?”

“You’re press, right?” He asks.

I almost felt like I was lying to him when I said yes. I certainly didn’t feel like press.

“Yeah,” he said, looking down at the camera strapped around my neck.

He brings me directly to the brightly lit cage, I’m beside myself with encouragement and excitement. I haven’t had cage-side access since my first experience with Cage Warrior Combat, when Jeff Holcomb and I were pursuing involvement in local MMA last year. The real hunger grew for us when I covered Jonathan Moore’s fight against Billy Walker at Rumble On The Ridge. Ever since then, I knew I couldn’t just stop writing about it. I was addicted. I was infatuated with the sport.

I sat down at the cage-side table and immediately recognized someone to my left. Mike Renouard of Northwest Fightscene Magazine. He humored me as I snapped a photo of him beside the cage. I guess I wanted proof that this was all moving so fast. Here I was with a camera, a recorder, and a waitress bringing me a drink. Just as quickly as it had been given, the rug got pulled out from under my feet, and I was immediately humbled. I was Jefferey Lebowski, and the item that really tied the room together had been swiftly taken away. Escorted to a table among other local MMA writers with websites and columns I knew nothing about, I sat, red in the face, with two cups of ice melting in front of me.

I also received a paper placard displaying my misspelled name, and beneath it, text reading “Kitsap Sun”. Fitting. “Rougheart MMA Journal is not going to make an appearance here tonight,” I thought. I felt alone.

Then something happened which I did not expect. Two familiar faces, both of them fighters from Kitsap County, Dustin Praxedes and Rob “Ironman” Cann, recognized me, and came up to shake my hand. They knew my name, they knew my face, and they knew Rougheart MMA Journal. This was what I needed.

So, putting my best foot forward, I stopped feeling sorry for myself. Sure, it would be a rough and hungry ride home, and I would be exausted, but now it was worth it. The fights were amazing, and I was able to cover the event gracefully, even learning a few things about these televised events in general.

So I will feel very comfortable, and very much at home this Saturday at Cage Warrior Combat. Where I know I have a good seat, and where I know my story will be read.

Is it wrong to want that great seat? Am I not working for it?

This is my cage, and my opponents are many. The biggest opponent might be my ego, and my temper, but just the same, those two things have served me well so far, as I try to climb to that high chair. That chair where I might get the eagle-eye view into the heart of this phenomenon which is Mixed Martial Arts. Look for my name. 

 

 

 

 


Cage Warrior Combat at The Point Casino, Kingston, October 13th.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012


Weigh-Ins Go Beautifully For Brian Halquist Productions at Emerald Queen Casino’s Cage Sport XXI: Photos Courtesy Of Knockout Publicity

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

“CageSport XXI” Weights!
For Immediate Release
 

photos via Knockout publicity and Root Sports

 
 Brandon Pitts 185                   Brent Knopp 186

Photos via Knockout Publicity and Root Sports

 
Brandon Dudley 155              Emmanuel Sanchez 155
 Jeff Degenhardt 169               Jerome James 171
 Ryan Mulvihill 144.5              Jacob Boysen 145
 Jared Torgeson 187.5              Byron Sutton 179
 Sean Villalva 125                    Damen Wood  125
 Julian Erosa 155.5                   Jason Gybles 154
 Matt Kovacs 250                    Richard Foster 232
 Christian Ortiz 126                 Chris Wheaton 123
 Andy Paves 171                      Jose Rico 170
  Promoter: Halquist Productions
Venue: Emerald Queen Casino Tacoma, WATickets: Ticketmaster.com
First bout: 7 PM
TV: ROOT SPORTS (broadcasts on 10/5, 10/12 and 10/21)

***

The tensity was undone once the last among Brian Halquist’s stacked card for tonight’s fight weighed in successfully. No one could have asked for more.

The fighters were ready for a well deserved rest and snack however, and that may have been what caused the initial press conference to be cancelled at the last minute.

There were no dramatic face-offs like you see on UFC preliminaries with Dana White having to pull two fighters apart like a pair of pit-bulls on restraints. Everyone was a gentleman. Which says a lot for the integrity of our Northwest fighters.

***

Completely distracted by my anticipatory excitement for this event, I was walking to my car looking down at the sidewalk when I nearly tripped over Brent Knopp. My mind being elsewhere, and setting itself on the hike back home, I ended up in conversation with Knopp while I had not yet identified him under his hood. I knew he was one of the fighters, and I had already spoken with Landon Showalter’s boys Christian Ortiz (facing off against Chris Wheaton), and Matt Kovacs (facing off against Richard Foster). What a beastly fight Kovacs vs. Foster could be.

I did not realize exactly who I was speaking to until finally he identified himself as the fighter who brought Carl Edwards down following Edwards’ return from Vegas in training with Forest Griffin.

How embarrassing to be staring the main-event right in the face and not even realize it until finally you are told, but what a gentleman Mr. Knopp turned out to be, and I was thrilled to hear that despite his 2-1 status as a pro, he is coming from an extensive 12-2 record as an amateur. When the pro stats are light, I like to know the ammie stats just as a frame of reference. I like to know how many submissions the fighter is coming into the cage with too, because it gives me a better picture of the intensity of their training.

Regardless, they have one hell of a line-up, and I’m glad I get to see it twice thanks to Root Sports.


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