On November 19th, 2011, Cage vs. Cons 2 will take place at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, Calif. The event follows our successful inaugural Cage Vs Cons 1, which took place in May at the Los Angeles Sports Arena to a nearly sold-out building. Once again, we will have pro-MMA fights, pitting convicts versus law enforcement/military fighters.
Below is information about our event, including our host, the line-ups.
Name: Tommy "Tiny" Lister
Also Known as: Deebo (from Friday), Zeus (WWF)
Interesting fact: Lister is blind in his right eye.
Tommy "Tiny" Lister (born Thomas Lister, Jr. on June 24, 1958) is an actor and former wrestler, best known for his role as the neighborhood bully "Deebo" in the Friday trilogy series of movies. He also had a short-lived professional wrestling career, wrestling Hulk Hogan in the WWF, after appearing as "Zeus" in Hogan's movie No Holds Barred.
Lister has had numerous guest appearances in TV series, including playing Klaang (the first Klingon ever to make contact with humans) in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. He also co-starred in an episode of the courtroom series "Matlock" as Mr. Matlock's in-prison bodyguard.
Fight 10: 3-5 @ 175 lbs.
Ismael Gonzalez (9-8-2) vs. "Notorious" Rick Slaton (10-2-1)
Ismael Gonzalez, 31, works as a police officer in the Los Angeles area, helping make some of the toughest streets of Southern California safe. He began his journey to a professional MMA career competing in Taekwondo as a sailor in the U.S. Navy. Before leaving the military in 2002, Gonzalez began to fight professionally as a Muay Thai fighter, racking up an impressive 12-1-1 record. The West Covina resident says he finds MMA fighting to be the ultimate athletic challenge, and the sport fits into his goal to live life at full speed. "I've done everything I wanted to in life," Gonzalez says. "You need to act on what you want to do."
"Notorious" Rick Slaton, 40, has been in trouble much of his life. In high school, he was expelled twice for punching his teachers. He's been on his own since he was 17 years old. The San Diego resident got kicked out of the Navy for punching an officer. He then joined a gang, serving as an enforcer who broke arms and legs.
He was sent to Donovan State Prison for making terrorist threats and, two years into his term (extended because of fighting), became a born-again Christian, a stunning conversion that drew other inmates to Christ. He got into mixed martial arts when in 2001 a friend asked him to fight, untrained, in an amateur bout. He lasted eight minutes, a feat that impressed bystanders and led to Slaton turning pro a year later.
Slaton, who always has had trouble with authority, jumped at the chance to fight a police officer at the Cage vs. Cons event, volunteering to drop 10 pounds off his normal fighting weight for a shot. "If I can fight a cop, I'd dropped to 135," says Slaton, known for his aggressive style and hard punching.
He credits his faith and MMA for giving him a new life that keeps him out of trouble. This faith gives him a reason never to get discouraged no matter what life throws at him, and his training keeps him too tired to get into trouble. "Plus, I get to punch people in the face and not get into trouble," Slaton says.
Fight 9: 3-5 @ 153 lbs.
Joe Nicholas (8-3) vs. Jason "The Monster" Meaders (14-5)
Joe Nicholas, 29, served for four years in the Marine Corps, where he worked as a mortarman and forward observer in Iraq. After his service, he drove a truck in war-ravaged Iraq for a civilian company. Coming back to the States, Nicholas—a longtime wrestler who also trained in Jiu-Jitsu and boxing in the Corps—decided to give MMA a try. In his first fight, his opponent was left with nine staples, nine stitches and two black eyes. After an initial rough stretch, Nicholas—an Irvine resident and sales manager for a lending company—is riding a five match winning streak.
Jason "The Monster" Meaders, 36, has been in and out of county jail from the age of 16 until 2008 for a variety of crimes. But since his latest release, he's rededicated himself to his MMA career in order to provide a better life for his children. Meaders got into the sport after high school. Inspired by the first UFC 1 matches on television, he headed to the training facility of one of the featured fighters the next day and was promptly arm-barred by a female fighter.
"I thought, 'Damn, if this little woman can do this, it's for me,' " Meaders said.
The Chino Hills resident began training in Jiu-Jitsu and has since become one of the best lightweight MMA fighters in Southern California. Meaders has scored many impressive victories over UFC and Strikeforce fighters, none more impressive than his third round knock-out strike against UFC veteran Roman Mitichyan in 2009 and his last victorious fight against Strikeforce fighter Alexander Trevino.
He was nicknamed "The Monster" because of his crazed reaction when hit in the head a few times. "Something in my head just switches on," Meaders said. "I love to fight. I love messing people up."
Fight 8: 3-5 @ 205 lbs.
Lateff "Python" Williams (1-1) vs. Ralph "The Pelican Bay Bomber" Aáu (3-1)
Lateff "Python" Williams, 32, has proven that he is one of the toughest fighters in the world. In 2004, in an attempted carjacking, his assailant shot him three times in the stomach and twice in the leg. Williams proceeded to drive himself to the hospital, where doctors removed significant parts of his stomach, liver, large and small intestines, pancreas, and appendix.
Though he lost 50 pounds while in the hospital, doctors credit his MMA fitness for saving his life. Four months later, he was back in training. A former college football star, Williams says he picked MMA because it's "chess to boxing's checkers." The Inglewood resident got his nickname after winning by rear-naked choke, causing his opponent to say, "It felt like a freakin' python!" The nickname stuck because of Peaches, Williams' nearly eight-foot-long pet python.
He was just recently accepted into the Fire Department, a goal he's been striving for, for years.
Ralph "The Pelican Bay Bomber" Aáu, 28, served six years in notorious Pelican Bay State Prison for attempted murder and carjacking. There, he joined a prison gang and fought for his life many times, including one battle that left his opponent with an estimated 60 stab wounds.
"We stabbed each other because an inmate wants his victim to wake up in the morning and see his face covered in scars. A lifetime reminder."
He adds, "They trained me to be a straight-up vicious guy. You have to be an animal in there." Before his conviction, the Highland resident had been a star high school linebacker who earned a scholarship to the University of Arizona. When he got out of prison in 2008, Aáu decided his best chance to straighten out was to become a MMA fighter. "I thought, ‘Why would I knock someone out for free when I can get paid for it?' "
He started his MMA training from the ground up, wanting to study the basics of each discipline. He says he wants to show people that "if an ex-con like me can make it, anyone can. I'm really, really hungry. I want the world to know that we make champions on this side of town." His other motivation? Aáu promised a prison guard that he would personally deliver two tickets to one of his matches when he made it big. "I want to get him those tickets," Aáu said.
Fight 7: 3-5 @ 185 lbs.
Vincent "The Volcano" Alaalatoa (4-1) vs. Benjamin Martin (6-0)
Vincent "The Volcano" Alaalatoa is a fierce all-around MMA fighter who's beaten opponents with knee knockouts, ferocious punches and submissions. A former star wrestler in high school and college, Alaalatoa, 27, wants to break into the MMA's upper ranks. His motivaton? His two young daughters. The Anaheim resident got his nickname because of his Samoan heritage and his explosive style of fighting.
Benjamin Martin, 32, spent seven years in prison, originally sentenced for assault with a deadly weapon. His term was extended for fighting, including with prison guards. After becoming a born-again Christian, he had to fight his way out of his prison gang, whose "blood in, blood out" required shedding blood—being killed—to escape.
"I had to fight my way out and earn their respect," Martin said. "Eventually, they got tired of getting beat up by me." When Martin got out of prison, he had trouble adjusting to living in a free society for the first time as an adult.
A third generation boxer, he naturally gravitated to the gym. But his friend, boxer Shane Mosley told him, "You're not a boxer, you're a cage fighter." Since turning pro in 2008, Martin has won all six of his fights, five of them by knockout. The Corona resident hopes to become a role model. "I'm fighting for lost souls," he says. "I want to bring more children to God, and let them know that no matter what you’ve been through, you can turn your life around."
Fight 6: 3-5 @145 lbs.
Joseph "The Teacher" Calavitta (4-3-1) vs. Anthony "The Birdman" Mcdavitt (7-7)
Joseph "The Teacher" Calavitta, 32, taught in high school before devoting himself full-time to MMA training. The San Clemente resident won two state titles and one national championship as a high school wrestler and went on to be part of the U.S. Olympic training program in Colorado Springs, Colo.
He got into MMA after being a wrestling coach to several of the sport's superstars including Tito Ortiz. "They kept telling me, 'Joe, you need to get into fighting,' " he says. Calavitta has started Fighters for the World (FightersForTheWorld.com), a nonprofit that provides after-school programs—academics and MMA training—to students.
Anthony "Birdman" Mcdavitt, 32, has spent time in juvenile hall for armed robbery and in county jail for a residential burglary. Despite that, he developed into a professional boxer and Muay Thai fighter whose matches have been televised on "Showtime" and "TKO Boxing."
The Long Beach, Calif. native started on his path to MMA fighting because of his love of animals. As a kid, Mcdavitt continually confronted a neighbor who kept shooting at birds. Each time, Mcdavitt got beat up. So he started lifting weights and training in his backyard so he could properly defend himself—and the neighborhood birds. And once he found a gym that specialized in mixed martial arts, "no one wanted to mess with me anymore."
His goal is to gain enough fame and fortune in MMA to open a wildlife refuge and animal shelter. "I just like fighting," Mcdavitt says. "I'm going to do MMA until the wheels fall off."
Fight 5: 2-2 @ 155 lbs.
Brandon Anderson (3-1) vs. Shane Krutchen (2-2)
Brandon Anderson is a young, intelligent, motivated, and aspiring mixed martial artist. Like many of his counterparts in the sport, Brandon has a work ethic second to none and a "never say die" attitude towards competition. There are many sides to the athletes that compete in cage fighting, as well as other combat sport seen in the media today.
Every fighter has something special that drives them to square off with another top level combatant in front of thousands of people. But the thing that makes Brandon Anderson different from the rest of the crowd isn't the stuff he brings into the cage, but the things he leaves out.
For years, Brandon had a very serious drug addiction problem. He has experimented and used a plethora of substances and was hooked. Trapped in a downward spiral of hopelessness, Brandon discovered the sport of mixed martial arts and used the high intensity training as an outlet and a release from the reality of his drug abuse dilemma.
Brandon is now clean from all substances and focusing fully on his cage fighting career. Cage vs Cons is not only giving Anderson, a 5-1 fighter, the opportunity to showcase his skills inside their promotion, but also handing him a gift certificate to a tattoo parlor to get some ill advised marijuana leaf tattoo's covered up on his chest. This way he can fix his reputation, as well as his physical image, because of the opportunities Cage vs Cons has provided for this inspiration man!
Shane Krutchen joined the Marine Corps at age 17 after watching the September 11th terrorist attacks. "September 11 re-did my whole life," he says. He's tattooed the names of 19 fallen Marines on his back, 18 of them from his unit, which saw heavy action in Iraq.
"My motivation is the guys on my back, big time," he says.
Krutchen, 26, got into MMA fighting by accident. One evening in 2007, he went to see an MMA event in Wisconsin, and a fighter was scratched. The promoter saw Krutchen in the audience and offered him a spot on the card in exchange for a free bar tab. "I was completely crushed and humiliated," he says. He began training, eventually moving to California for better competition. The El Cajon resident says he loves being a MMA fighter "because it sets you apart."
Fight 4: 3-5 @ 175 lbs.
Preston Scharf (10-12) vs. Daniel "The Animal" McWilliams (8-16)
Preston Scharf, of Pismo Beach, started karate at age 7 and wrestling a year later. After wrestling in junior college, Scharf started MMA fighting, training with legend Chuck Lydell most of his career. He coaches wrestling at all levels: elementary, junior high and high school. He also teaches law enforcement techniques at two gyms and has been an instructor at police academies.
"My passion is kids wrestling, and I want to give them all the attributes of being a true wrestler: respect, courage, good grades, the will to win and never quit at anything in life!" Scharf said. "Hopefully they will take wrestling all the way to college on a full ride and live successful lives!"
Daniel "The Animal" McWilliams has spent time in juvenile hall, county jail and state prison, the final stay for 14 months on a residential burglary conviction. After release in 2006, his mixed martial arts career has kept him out of trouble.
"I've always liked to fight," McWilliams says. "I found a way to do it legally without going to jail." Built like a striker, McWilliams, 28, has won most of his fights by submission.
The Palmdale resident earned his nickname when he took a fight on short notice although he knew he didn't have the conditioning to go the distance. McWilliams attacked with such ferociousness in the first round that his opponent—who received a broken nose and two black eyes but went on to win—admiringly called him an animal after the fight.
Fight 3: 3-3 @ 205 lbs.
Jessie Cannon (0-0) vs. Corey Dennis (0-0)
Jessie "Sergeant" Cannon is making his pro MMA debut. The Inglewood resident joined the Army straight out of high school, spending 10 years as an airborne jumpmaster and sniper. He serving in Kosovo and two tours in Iraq. He trained in Jiu-Jitsu in the military and fought in the Army's version of mixed martial arts tournaments.
After leaving the military in 2008, Cannon, 31, jumped into MMA training.
"I really just love to punch people. I like to fight, but I don't like to get into trouble," he said. "I have to put hands on something or somebody each day. I need to punch some guy in the face."
When not training, he's going to college to study criminal justice and science.
Corey Dennis, 32, served time in jail for robbery before becoming a dedicated Christian and changing his life around. Though this is his first professional MMA match, Dennis has fought "tons of times" in amateur kick-boxing and boxing matches, several of them illegal events, including some in Mexico.
"I really love kicking people in the head," Dennis says. His strength is his ground game, but says "I'm good anywhere you stick me."
A recovering addict, his primary motivation is to provide children with troubled backgrounds someone to look up to. "I didn't have a good childhood," Dennis says. "I didn't have someone to point me in the right direction. That's what I want to do for kids, more than anything else."
Fight 2: 3-3 @ Super Heavyweight
Gonzo (0-0) vs. Sal Farnetti (2-5)
Gonzo: a former Marine squad leader and machine gunner who fought in Iraq—is making his pro MMA debut. He was a high school football star and 31-0 as a wrestler in his senior year, but passed up many college scholarships to join the Marines after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The San Clemente resident served eight years in the Marines and was selected to be one of the pallbearers at President Ronald Reagan's funeral.
After the military, the warrior, now 26, competed in boxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Tai, but decided to concentrate on MMA because it has "everything in one bucket."
"I want to take MMA as far as I can," Gonzo says. "I don't do anything half-assed."
Fight 1: 3-3 @ 155 pounds
Hector "Aztec Warrior" Peña (0-0) vs. Anthony TeSam (0-1)
Hector "Aztec Warrior" Peña Jr., an Army veteran and current Reservist —is making his MMA pro debut. The West Hills, Calif. resident is trained by his father, a third degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo and the most decorated Mexican kicker boxer in history. Peña, 20, is a fierce striker who's won several Army mixed martial arts tournaments called "combatives."
"MMA is what I love to do," Peña said. "This is me, this is my life, this is my passion.
Anthony TeSam is a 25-year-old Kumeyaay Native American, currently hailing from San Diego CA. He began fighting friends and family at a very young age with towels wrapped with duct tape around my hands, so from a young age, TeSam was a fighter.
"On the reservation, pride is a huge thing among Native American people, so I learned to fight quick," Anthony explains. "I started to get in trouble about 6th grade, not only in school, but at home with disobedience, fighting, and running away."
TeSam would end up attending eight different high schools, due to his wild streak, including three out of state disciplinary boarding schools, one of which, he was kicked out for fighting with staff. As a youth, rebeling in school wasn't his only problems, eventually, he got into some serious trouble.
At age 16, he was arrested on a second degree murder, and assault with a deadly weapon, but was released from custody due to lack of evidence. As if that wasn't a big enough wake-up call, TeSam continued his bad streak. At 18, up until the age of 24, he was arrested multiple times -- including DUI charges, battery, and public intoxication.
Finally, at 24, he decided to quit drinking and found a passion for MMA, which he credits to turning his life around.
"Thanks to the sport, my life has turned for the better and I have been sober for a year, trouble free, and a much more disciplined and humble person," TeSam explains. "I have the best family in the sport at my gym (The Dungeon) including my training partner, Chris Brown, who is an amazing fighter himself, and has inspired me to give my all no matter what I put my mind to."
At Cage Vs Cons, TeSam hopes to continue his journey into becoming a professional MMA fighter.