Airmen tested, entertained during Ring Wars

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nathan Gallahan
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Bloody mats, smiling faces and emergency room visits were all that remained after Airmen here witnessed 13 mixed martial arts fights June 17 at the Bellamy Fitness Center.

The 28th Force Support Squadron invited Ring Wars, a local mixed-martial arts organization, on base to entertain Airmen and their families, and allow others to test their mettle in the ring.

One of the fighters, Staff Sgt. Daniel Turner, is a soft spoken finance auditor assigned to the Air Force Financial Services Center. Sergeant Turner has been wrestling for most of his life and over the past few years he's been training to fight in the styles of muay thai, ju-jitsu and basic freestyle, yet he lacked fist-to-face experience.

"I have never gotten into a fistfight in my entire life," he said two hours prior to stepping into the ring.

He had never even punched anyone or received a punch until a few weeks ago during training. When he was asked how it felt the first time he popped someone in the head, he simply replied, "It felt good."

Odds weren't in his favor as he stepped into the ring against an experienced fighter.

Yet they quickly turned once the fight was on. It started with some low kicks before Sergeant Turner caught his opponent's leg and took the fight to the mat. After some grappling and a few punches, Sergeant Turner's opponent made a mistake he was able to capitalize on ... he widened his legs. It was just enough to allow Sergeant Turner to break free from his opponents guard, sweep around and take his back, in a maneuver U.S. Navy Seals would be proud of. In a millisecond he had his opponent's neck locked in his arms, draining the fighter's spirit.

Approximately 35 seconds after it started, Sergeant Turner won his first fight by tap out.

Another highlight of the evening was when Senior Airman Jerel Guyton, 28th Medical Support Squadron, health services management technician, stepped into the ring. Airman Guyton has been training for about two years and said he prides himself on being a well-rounded, muay thai and ju-jitsu fighter, with a concentration on striking and his ground game. His Ring Wars battle marks his first official fight.

"This is something I've had a passion to do since I was young, but my mom didn't want me to get into it," he said. "I feel like I have to make a statement ... I'm a lot stronger than people think. I have a lot of heart when it comes to fighting; I have that will to win regardless of who I'm fighting."

Airman Guyton wasn't there alone; along with his trainers at his back; he had several friends in the crowd cheering him on.

"I'm excited," said Senior Airman Richard Morgan, 28th MDSS patient administrator. "I want to see Airman Guyton win. He's talked about fighting for awhile."

There was no more time for talk as Airman Guyton stepped into the ring. He looked confident, calm and collected ... ready to tear his opponent to pieces. From the onset, he owned "violence of action," one major rule of close quarters combat. He charged at his opponent and landed a quick left jab followed by two hard right hooks, rattling the fighter. Airman Guyton kept striking.

His right arm resembled a jackhammer as he repeatedly pounded into his opponent's face. The battle was stopped by the referee in less than 15 seconds; His opponent lay bleeding and unconscious for more than three minutes. Air Force medical technicians were immediately on hand to assist, prep and transport the fallen fighter to the Rapid City Regional Hospital Emergency Room.

Airman Guyton's first fight was a win by knockout.

"This is awesome," exclaimed Airman Morgan. "I would go to every fight if they offered them here."

Airman Morgan's wife, Katie Morgan, didn't share the same sentiments. "This is my first time watching a fight like this," she said. "I don't like watching this fighting and I don't understand it. I'm just here to support Airman Guyton."

While some loved and others hated the experience of Ring Wars, the event was a success. More than 700 fans packed the Bellamy Fitness Center.

"We were looking for an event for Airmen and we went outside the gate to find something popular," said Rick Ives, Bellamy Fitness Center director. "We're testing this for Airmen. If it's a success, we'll do more."