To say that mixed martial arts was successful in 2010 in the Chicago-land area is an understatement. In 2010 from a national perspective we only got Bellator on two separate occasions. But from a local point of view, things couldn’t have been better.
In the past, the only local organization to successfully put on professional mixed martial arts shows was the Xtreme Fighting Organization (XFO) based out of Crystal Lake. But in 2010, Ruckus Entertainment and Chicago Cagefighting Championship both made their mark and looked to improve local perspective of the sport.
Ruckus Entertainment put on three shows in 2010, starting with Ruckus 2 in March at Venutis Banquet Hall in Addison. The event saw several local fighters in tough match ups, some winning, others not as successful. But some big things were ahead for several fighters who competed on this card including Vince Ramos, Carson Beebe and Dustin Neace.
After the success of Ruckus 2, the managing partners decided to tackle a bigger stage and set their sites on hosting an event at the historic Navy Pier in the heart of Chicago. The September 11 event had some hitches and problems, but the fights were all outstanding. Like Ruckus 2, several fighters were featured including Clay French, Billy Stamp, Peter Grimes and Chase Beebe who would then fly over to Japan to fight just two weeks later.
In between Ruckus 2 and Ruckus 3, another promotion came along in Chicago Cagefighting Championship. The first event, dubbed “CCC 1” was one of the most action packed shows of all time. Fans in attendance at “The Odeum” in Villa Park were treated to eleven fights and not a single one went to the judges’ scorecards. Local fighters featured on this card included Jared McMahan, Ryan Williams, and Mike Lullo who would later be called up to fight in the UFC at UFC 123 after his second fight for the promotion.
In October, “CCC 2” hit the stage and again delivered some solid performances. In the co-main event, Mike Lullo defeated Tyler Combs and this victory lead to him being called up to fight for the UFC. Also on the card were Chase Beebe, Adam Ward, and Jason Guida.
Wanting to end the year on a high note, Ruckus returned to Venutis for “Black Wednesday” and featured Chase Beebe picking up his fourth win this year as well as his younger brother Carson in the main event picking up his sixth win.
On top of these promotions, XFO returned to form with two solid professional cards in “Outdoor War” and “Road to Glory”. The later featured Felice Herrig, Mike Pitz and Jeff Curran all fighting and earning victories.
In addition to the promotions putting on successful shows, one fighter in particular saw success of his own. After competing and winning three fights in from April through October, all by submission, Mike Lullo got the call up to fight for the UFC. He made his UFC debut at UFC 123 on the preliminary card against a very dangerous striker in Edson Barbosa. While the fight didn’t go his way, Lullo has been assured another fight in the top promotion.
With the success of 2010, all three promotions are looking to further make a name for themselves in the coming year. Already XFO has stated their next event “XFO 38” will feature none other than Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver and Ruckus will be hosting an Illinois only tournament to determine state champions in four different weight classes.