Archive for April 11, 2009

Callaham writes DOOM for Opponents at CA State Pankration Tourny

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2009 by jaytan716

Longtime Legends mainstay Dave Callaham took second place in his 160 lb. weight class on Sunday at the 2009 California State Pankration Championships, which took place at Santa Ana College. The event, which was sanctioned by the USA Federation of Pankration Athlima, was a 16-man tournament in one of nine different weight classes (in the Men’s Division).

The tournament could not have been more serendipitous, as Callaham, who normally competes in no-gi jiu-jitsu tournaments, was looking to test his meddle on the mat before taking to the altar.

Dave Callaham was excited to fit some competition into his schedule, just before his upcoming wedding.

Dave Callaham was excited to fit some competition into his schedule, just before his upcoming wedding.

“It had been a long time since I had competed and I was getting the itch. . . I had a limited window to work with because I get married in early May. . . So this tournament was just sitting there a little over a month out, with perfect timing. . .and I just thought, ‘to hell with it, it’s close to jiu jitsu’,” he explained.

Pankration is a forefather to MMA in that the sport combines stand-up striking with grappling and submissions on the ground. Because amateur MMA has yet to be sanctioned in California, promoters, coaches, and aspiring fighters sidestep this current prohibition with modified rules (no strikes to the head, downward stomps, or upkicks from bottom) and single round bouts. The California State Athletic Commission is in the process of creating rules, regulations, and a sanctioning body for amateur MMA.

Granted a bye in the first round, Callaham’s first match came in the quarterfinals, against a representative from the Fightworx fight team. The bout went to the ground early when Callaham’s opponent got a front headlock and jumped guard, but it wasn’t long before Callaham escaped to take a front headlock of his own, setting up for a Japanese necktie chokehold and getting the tapout at 1:13.

After the match, he accredited Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu for his first round win, commenting “I’d just learned that technique online two weeks before from the 10th planet instructor in Dallas. And it was cool to be able to do that move in competition.”

In the semi-finals, Callaham was challenged standing and on the ground before claiming a win by points, which advanced him to the finals. His opponent, Charles Gay of Camp Pendleton, set up numerous chokes and armlocks from the bottom, putting Callaham in brief danger several times, but the 10th Planet blue-belt was able to escape each time. As the round ended, they took to their feet and traded kicks and combinations, with Callaham catching his opponent’s leg as the bell rang.

In the finals, Callaham opened up with body shots and a solid inside right low kick. His opponent, James Clarke of Fight Club 29 (a fight team rival of Camp Pendleton) scored a takedown, claiming side mount and a tight headlock. Callaham straightened out and worked to implement his butterfly guard from bottom position, but was caught in a kimura armbar and forced to tap out at 2:23 seconds.

Legends represents.  From left: trainer Jimmie Romero, Kyle Harimoto, Dave Callaham, Dave Kalstein.

Legends represents at the 2009 California State Pankration Championships. From left: trainer Jimmie Romero, Kyle Harimoto, Dave Callaham, Dave Kalstein.

“I expected, honestly, to go out there and get torn to pieces.  I didn’t know what sort of guys I’d be against, and there were no skill levels. . . Just one big bracket.  That worried me a lot. . . I was hoping to acquit myself well and maybe squeak out a win. After the first match, I thought, ‘Oh wow, I can hang with these dudes.’  Then my expectations went up.  . . . And that guy I lost to in the finals was just better at it than I was.  I hate it when I lose and know I could have won . . . with that kind of guy, it’s hard to be angry at yourself afterward,” he said in a post-fight interview.

As a second place finisher, Callaham qualified to compete in the FILA USA World Team Trials, which is scheduled to take place in June in Milwaukee. However, due to matrimonial commitments, he does not anticipate attending the event.

“You can’t overemphasize the level of competition that he was going against. If you’re a Marine and you get picked for the Pankration team, you pretty much train 365 day a year for this specific event. In the finals, he was facing one of their best guys, who was cutting down from 180 lbs to 160 lbs. And Dave walks around at 155. And considering Dave’s job is to write screenplays, it’s pretty impressive,” said Legends member Dave Kalstein, who was on hand to see the matches.

Callaham sported pink toenails for the event.