Just a little background: KOTC 10- Critical Mass took place in 2001 and featured a one-night, eight-man heavyweight tournament as well as several regular bouts (Most notably Duane Ludwig vs. Krazy Horse). The tournament utilized one seven-minute round per fight, allowed for grounded knees, and gave virtually no leeway in terms of inaction on the ground. Once you hit the floor, you had to follow the ABC rules: Always Be Coldcocking. If you weren’t ground-and-pounding or going for submissions, you would get stood up even if you had mount.
Here are the players:
Fred Floyd– A 380 lbs PKA kickboxer and “Budokan Kung-Fu” stylist. He was an oldschool NHB fighter who suffered a memorable beating at the hands of I.G.O.R. back in the day. He did have a notable victory against WCW jobber Jerry Flynn, however, and might’ve appeared on an old Seinfeld episode as a bouncer. He’s easily the fattest man in the tournament.
Wade Shipp– A young Lions Den fighter with a shaved head and goatee. He’s making his debut here.
Kauai Kupihea– This dude looks like Pedro Rizzo with the body of Cain Velasquez. He has a fair bit of experience, coming into the tournament on a loss dealt to him by Bobby Hoffman in a title fight at KOTC 9. He claims to be a Muay Thai/BJJ fighter, but it quickly becomes obvious his forte is wrestling. Sneaky bastard.
Josh Dempsey– Jack Dempsey’s grandson, a former professional boxer with a 19-4-0 record. He’s apparently a former state champion wrestler and trained with the likes of Mark Kerr, Rigan Machado, and the McCully brothers (Sean and Justin). The only credential he lacks is having cybernetic limbs. Despite this tournament being his debut, he’s one of the favorites.
Giant Ochiai– A flabby Japanese guy with an afro. He’s a Judoka and pro wrestler managed by Masaaki Satake. He previously fought in Pride 10 and lost to Ricco Rodriguez by smother.
Zane Frazier– A Kenpo stylist who almost died in UFC 1 and later almost killed a man in UFC 9. He once beat up Frank Dux in a hotel lobby, and claims that he’s banned from training BJJ by the Brazilians. He’s 38, asthmatic, and 1-8-0 coming in, but is VERY buff on this particular night.
Eric Kleper- At 6’7″, he’s the tallest man in the tourney. He claims a boxing/kickboxing background, and is the heavyweight champion for Mark Hall’s Cobra Fighting Federation (Remember Mark Hall? I do). His shorts have a smiley face on the crotch.
Mike Bourke– Normally a fatty who fights with his shirt on, but for this tournament he’s yolked himself up and looks like a powerlifter. His background is two seasons of highschool wrestling. Beyond that, he trains once a week in Judo with some guy named Mollen Kramer (Yeah… Only once a week). He’s a KOTC perennial, being their open weight champion, and also fought in Pride 11 where he was double-armbarred by Alexander Otsuka (Just to note: KOTC had pretty close ties with Pride back in the day and a lot of fighters express a desire to fight there). He has an unfinished Tasmanian Devil tattoo on his shoulder.
Keith Richardson– The alternate who fought in a dark match. He’s a pear-shaped dude who sports a matching black singlet and t-shirt. His style is “Vale Judo.”
Fight 1: Fred Floyd vs. Wade Shipp
After a brief stand-up exchange, Floyd makes a sort of awkward lunge and ends up on his back and mounted. Shipp lands a few big punches before submitting him with an armbar less than thirty seconds in. Floyd never fought again.
Fight 2: Kauai Kupihea vs. Josh Dempsey
A brutal and exhausting back-and-forth ground battle. The gist of the fight is that Kupihea would score a takedown and the two would then take turns being on top and pounding each other. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it wasn’t a sloppy shitfest either. Kuiphea hit some nice switches and landed a few big grounded knees. Dempsey’s grappling training shone through and he had Kupihea turtled up at several points. After seven minutes, Kupihea would end up getting the split decision based mostly on his takedowns a grounded knees. Dempsey only had one other MMA fight, a victory over Cyrille Diabate.
Fight 3: Giant Ochiai vs. Zane Frazier
Right off the bat it becomes apparent that Frazier is substantially faster, more powerful, and more technical than his Japanese opponent. Despite having “Giant” in his name, he’s three inches shorter than Frazier and forty pounds lighter (As a matter of fact, he’s one of the smallest guys in the tourney). Ochiai can offer little in the way of offense for most of the fight, as Frazier effortlessly shrugs off his takedown attempts and picks him apart with strikes. The announcers compare the one-sided affair to Gary Goodridge vs. Osamu Kawahara (Where Goodridge uppercutted the shit out of him).
After a while, however, Frazier’s asthma, age, and heavily muscled physique conspire against him and he gases hard. He takes mount at one point but is too exhausted to do anything, an the two are stood up. With about a minute left, Ochiai hoists Frazier up in the air and drops him to the ground (The impact is mitigated by Frazier’s fence-holding). The rest of the fight would see Ochiai just wailing on his American opponent. If he had only managed to do that a little earlier, he could’ve gotten the stoppage. In the end, however, it went to decision and Frazier’s hand was raised.
Judging from this fight, it seems that Frazier’s record doesn’t do him justice. He had an impressive amount of talent and ability, but was hindered by a severe physical limitation. After pulling out of the tournament due to exhaustion he would go on to fight well into his forties, only scoring two more victories (To his credit, he at least won the title of some Z-level promotion). Ochiai would go on to rack up a string of three victories in Pride, but would tragically die in 2003 while training. In life, he looked like a chubby Weird Al Yankovic and was awesome.
Fight 4: Mike Bourke vs. Eric Kleper
Bourke’s primary mode of attack is charging forward face first with no clear idea of what to do after that. We’ll call this the Rhino Charge, being that his nickname is in fact “The Rhino.” Anyway, Bourke Rhino Charges Kleper into the fence, who responds by spazzing back with straight punches. Kleper attempts a flying guillotine, but Bourke pops out of it and goes ape-shit with ground-and-pound until Kleper taps out.
The two would meet again a few months later in Gladiator Challenge, both in substantially worse shape than in this tournament. Bourke KO’d him after four minutes of inaction.
Fight 5: Wade Shipp vs. Kauai Kupihea
I’m impressed Kupihea is even coming out after his tough fight in round one. Shipp comes out aggressive clonking him with some good strikes standing up. He’s sharper than Kupihea. Kupihea gets it to the ground at various points, but it’s still pretty close. Eventually, though, the larger Kupihea nails him with a barrage of grounded knees that open up a cut on Shipp’s head. From that point on, Kupihea mounts him and pounds him for the next several minutes. The ref really lets this go on for WAY too long. He even misses the towel thrown in at the six minute mark, so the timekeeper rings the bell prematurely to stop the fight.
Shipp would go on to have a respectable record of 10-5-0. He would even make it to UFC 47, but would lose to Jonathan Wiezorek. Wiezorek entered the fight with a broken back, but Shipp’s defeat is more of a testament to Wiezorek’s uncanny balls than Shipp’s ability. On the subject of broken backs… Well, we’ll get to that (Hint! Hint! Spinal injury coming up!)
Fight 6: Mike Bourke vs. Keith Richardson
This is easily the funniest fight of the night. Bourke looked like a frustrated father trying to give his son a whooping, but realizing that his boy has grown too big for him to kick his ass like he used to. After a Rhino Charge, Bourke attempted to throw Richardson to the ground using no semblance of technique, but this didn’t work because Richardson is 270 lbs. After a while, Bourke finally managed to hit a blast double, but gets caught in a sidemounted guillotine choke that makes him spit his mouthpiece out. Bourke eventually escapes but gets stood back up.
On their feet, Bourke clocks Richardson with a few wild right hands (The announcers say Bourke has a boxing trainer, which I doubt). Richardson immediately looks like he doesn’t want to be there, but Bourke refuses to follow it up either due to fatigue or lack of confidence. Most of the rest of the fight is spent in a clinch up against the fence, and would end with Bourke getting a very exhausted arm raised.
Fight 7: Mike Bourke vs. Kauai Kupihea
The climatic final fight advertised on the front cover of the DVD case! Bourke’s back gives out after getting taken down and he submits 40 seconds in. Kauai Kupihea is the tournament champion!
Bourke would eventually get into some real training, but his youth passed him by and he would still end up losing a lot of fights. He was once slated to fight Kimbo Slice, but was replace by Bo Cantrell (Who previously defeated him). Late in his career he lost to Tank Abbott but retired on a high note by beating Ken Shamrock. For his part, Kauai Kupihea would get knocked out by Eric Pele on the next card and would go on to have a 15-11-0 record. His most notable victory was against Travis Wiuff.
Summary: For an early 2000’s heavyweight tournament in a B-promotion, this is about as good as you can get. The stalling rules seemed to effectively increase action despite abating what would otherwise be called bullshit standups. My favorite fight of the night was Frazier vs. Ochiai, because it was a David vs. Goliath match and Ochiai’s near-comeback towards the end had me bonering. Over all, I’d give the show a 15 out of 10.
Reasons to watch:
– Ring girl’s ass
– Grounded knees
– FAT GUYS!
– Keith Richardson’s bulge
– Ludicrious ruleset made the fights pretty head punch-centric