by: Jack Bratcher
Tonight, Saturday Sept.13, UFC heavyweight veteran, Gan “The Giant” McGee comes out of retirement to face Clarksville, Tennessee’s own, Jonathan Ivey at Xtreme Fighting Championship’s SOAF 5 in Tampa, Florida. The event is called “Salute to Our Armed Forces 5 – Return of the Giant” and is being held at the St. Pete Times Forum in the Channelside district of Tampa. If you are in the area you need to get to this now! The entire day is filled with festivities beginning at at 1pm with music, vendors, bikes, bikinis, drinks, and a tribute to first responders. Doors open at 5pm, opening ceremony at 6:15pm, and the first bout is at 7pm CST.
Here is the best news for MMA fans: you can watch all ten fights in the comfort of your own home online as the show will be streamed live via webcast starting at 7pm CST. The webcast costs only $9.99. Just think, for the price of going to the movies you can watch ten live mixed martial arts fights at home in your underwear kicked back in your recliner. What could be better?
Here’s the full fight card for XFC: Salute Our Armed Forces 5 “Return of the Giant” airing live on www.mmaxfc.com at 7pm CST, Saturday, Sept.13, 2008:
Brandon Palant (1-0) vs. Ghost Goodall (1-1)
Robert Walker (2-1) vs. Jason Goodall (4-0)
Brandon Watts vs. Justin Flood (2-0)
Frank Sharipov (3-2) vs. Shah Babonis (4-1)
Joe Torrez (9-0) vs. Eric Florez (12-3)
Josh Cate (5-7) vs. Tony Hervey (6-3)
John Hollimon (1-0) vs. CT Turner (2-0)
Cory Krebbs (1-0) vs. Jermaine Wilson (0-2)
Donnie Wallace (1-0) vs. Richard Boyd (pro debut)
Billy Colon (3-1) vs. Dave Yost (3-0)
Jonathan Ivey (27-34) vs. Gan McGee (12-4)
Standing at an incredible 6′10 and weighing over 250lbs, Gan McGee is a heavyweight fighter with an impressive reputation. McGee, lost a UFC heavyweight title fight in the main event of UFC 44 against then champion Tim Sylvia. Drug test results came back following the fight which had Tim Sylvia testing positive for the banned substance stanozolol. Syliva relinquished his title and Gan McGee was never given another title shot. McGee said regarding the incident, “I truly believe that the extra power and the extra muscle that he packed on helped him land that big punch. I think it made a difference…I mean, there’s a reason why athletes take steroids – and there’s a reason why steroids have been labeled as a performance enhancing drug, right? Obviously, it can give an athlete an unfair advantage.”
McGee went on to lose his next two fights in PRIDE against Heath Herring and Sammy Schilt, both top-notch athletes. With the UFC refusing him another title shot and then suffering the back to back PRIDE defeats, it was enough to cause Gan to walk away from the sport in 2004. However, when one comes so close to holding the most coveted title on earth, the UFC Heavyweight Championship, and especially when you are only 32 years of age, the word “retirement” is likely to get transformed into the phrase “a little time off.”
Gan McGee is back on the road to being one of the top heavyweight mixed martial arts fighters in the world. That is what he wants. “As a fighter, the last thing you want is for your career to be defined by a loss. That’s a big motivation for me as I step back inside that steel cage and reclaim my lost legacy.”
So what is motivating Gan to get back in the cage? “You know what’s really motivating me as well? Watching all those heavyweight in UFC and thinking, “Gosh, I can whip those guys!’ Then the name Brock Lesnar comes up; “I’d love to fight him and I think I’d have an excellent shot at beating him,” he added. “Brock is obviously a big, powerful, muscular professional wrestler. “But I don’t see much skill on his part. I’m confident I could beat him.
The XFC may not be the most well known promotion in the country but they are definitely getting the attention of MMA fans all over Florida. With over fifteen thousand expected to watch McGee’s return to the cage live and with many more watching over the internet, Xtreme Fighting Championship seems to be doing what it takes to be successful in this business.
With Nate Diaz fighting Josh Neer next Wednesday and Leben vs. Bisping not for a couple more weeks, what could a hardcore MMA fan find better to do with his Saturday night than watch a UFC heavyweight veteran and former Chuck Liddell training partner make his comeback?