Gary Turner Article about Master Mehrdad
Gary Turner. Well, that was a real fun trip, all credit to Master Merhdad Khan Moayedi (this is one fella who looks too healthy!) and his team for sorting us out, Bonnie, Yolanda Moayedi, Kate Vaughn, and of course ‘little’ Joel, who really did his best to look after us and check we were ok – his professionalism Muay Thai and humour were welcomed! Thanks on behalf of me and Steve Fox, my coach at the event, and Team Gary Turner behind the scenes (Jeroen Winters, Roland van der Borgh, Andre Daltrey and Steve Fox).
The trip didn’t start well for me and Steve – United Airlines messed their schedules and our flight arrived late and we missed to connection to Tampa, resulting in 5odd ours in Washington. When we got to Tampa, our luggage didn’t arriving nearly 24 hours later, and only after we were pushing United! Something to talk about though, man! I hate it when people lie to your face just because they can’t be bothered!
But we got to a great hotel, and bought up half the local sports shops, and got some training at a local gym, thanks to Chris Lupia at Physical Performance Inc.
The Friday medicals and State Commission talks and weigh-in’s went well. I weighed in at 238 in my clothes; Rick took his top off and weighed in at 203! I asked him if he wanted some of my fat, and got a nice chuckle.
Rick likes to get his head right before a fight, and is often distant, but we’ve met before, got on, and although we both had our fight heads on were polite and cheeky with each other. Saturday was going to be fun!
Florida has to be one of the strictest commissions I’ve ever fought under. We were signed into the changing room, not realising that we couldn’t leave again until our fight! And we weren’t allowed food in! So I had no food for the 5 hours leading up to the fight. Didn’t affect me that I saw during the fight, but, hey! I was hungry, lol! If ever I started to dream about chocolate…
The commission observed the wraps, signed them, signed the gloves, watched and commented on the Vaseline, checked the corner equipment, were with us very closely the whole time. There were a couple of random drug tests too. The commission, although incredibly strict, were efficient and friendly, and the guys seemed to be enjoying themselves even though they were stuck in a back room with only a small monitor to watch the show on. (The medicals were also quite strict, in particular the dilated eye exams, the hep B, C and HIV tests etc all had to be forwarded through in advance.)
The arena at St Pete Times Forum was fantastic, and the production was great – overhead screens, lots of smoke, ramps for the walking out, hip-hop acts (or hippity hoppity if like me you’re old enough to remember when it had a silly name!) and a good sound system. The atmosphere was nice too – noisy and friendly!
Interestingly, while we are talking about age, when Rick was racking up World Title after World Title at pro kickboxing in the 90’s, I was doing the same but for sport ju-jitsu and amateur kickboxing, and we both come to the ring with possibly the same (although of course different) amount of experience. For sure, the fight was going to be a battle of wits.
The ring was 19’ internal, just the right size. Rick was already there, focused and ready as I entered the ring. I felt relaxed, and despite my smiles, was concentrating on Steve’s instructions in the corner, releasing my distractions to focus on the fight. ‘Skin a rabbit’ said Steve as he pulled off my vest, and with that final release of humour I was ready.
Round 1 started, and pretty much continued the same throughout the whole fight! Rick was fast, real fast, the fastest footwork and body movement I had ever seen. He was on form, like a sped up film, like a kid given Red Bull for the first time, lol! Rick had come in shape for sure. We settled into a pattern, where I closed him down to corner him, and he then struck first with me countering, or me first and him countering.
Rick has an exceptional lead hook, and I think I managed to stop him throwing it nicely, and again he didn’t have much luck with his trademark sidekick, as I was just too strong and walked through it. Rick thinks it was the cross in the first, I think it was the one in the second, (he caught me in both hard!), but he caught me with a straight left right onto my temple. Although the crowd tell me that I just took any shots that hit without flinching or appearing to notice, that shot sent my eyes out of focus for the rest of the fight! Not good when Slick Rick is whizzing around in front of you, lol!
Rick tried a couple of axe kicks and high rear round kicks, and mostly they came off my guard, were moved onto my shoulder, and not one of them worried me, although they did look nice and flash and I am sure scored well in the judges eyes. Mind you, my right ear is black today (a black ear? That’s a first for me!), when one of his kicks missed my head but by God caught my ear! I caught him with a nice lead round kick to his head too, my foot whipping behind his guard, not a hard strike, just annoying for him and scoring the high kicks for me also.
I took Rick down with a few sweeps, at one time catching his leg, and kicking the leg from underneath. I was moving forward during that process and Rick went down, but hey, it was strictly within the rules. I think I took Rick down something like 4 times with low kicks timed like sweeps, and one actual sweep.
Gary Turner vs Rick Roufus
I did receive one caution when I threw a rear front kick onto his belt line. It could have been judged as a low blow, the ref warned me, but Rick just shrugged it off. I repeated it a few seconds later and my foot disappeared into a shocked Rick’s midsection. The ref had words with me, but the kick was perfect! Right into his gut, above the belt, sweet. I think Rick appreciated it.
In fact, Rick’s face was real funny at times during the fight. In the first I caught him with a cheeky lead front kick to the face, and got the ‘Rick’ look. You know in cartoons when the character’s mouth goes into a squiggly line? That’s what Rick’s does, lol, when he’s been caught. It’s not necessarily that he’s been hurt, it could just be that he knows he’s been hit, and wants to get it back.
He’s been eating some of Popeye’s spinach too, as my strength in punching is greatly increased, and there were at least two shots that hit Rick so hard that I would have expected him to be stretchered out of the ring. You know the ones, the ones that you connect so damn hard you think the guy’s heads gonna come off? Yet all I got was Rick’s squiggly look, lol!
By the way, he was more than ready for leg kicks – he had a few surprises for the unwary, and although I managed to get a few in (none that I would consider good), his little traps made me wary.
Gary Turner Draws in his first Shin Do Kumate Debut
Rick made me look clumsy a couple of times in the last round especially when I was really trying to take the fight to him. Afterwards we realised that if I was punching a couple of feet lower I would have hit him more! His body movement was exceptional. Eventually I would close him down and corner him and the games would start again.
Although I am sure Rick felt a few of my good strikes, and I definitely felt a couple of his, I don’t think either of us displayed any effects of the hits during the fight.
There were a couple of nice moments between me and Rick during the fight (ahhhhh!) Once was when he tried to clinch and sweep me. ‘Nice try but no chance’ I spoke to him, and got what appeared to be a little chuckle back.
Overall, my team thought we had done enough to win, although not by much. This was demonstrated by the first judge scoring me ahead by two points, the other two judges scoring it a draw, and therefore a majority draw was the result. I don’t think I was ‘robbed’, as even though I think we were definitely ahead, it would not have been by much. We both had two different styles, Rick moving and being more flash, me being aggressive and heavy hitting. I thought I hit him a little more. You know me for being honest, and therefore have a look at the video when it appears and let me and Rick know your honest opinions! Mind you, me and Rick haven’t seen it either yet!
Rematch – why not?
Rick and his team are nice fellas, and although it was too late for it by the time we got back to the hotel, I think that we could have all shared a few beers and took the Mick out of us all nicely!
In retrospect I am going to drop about ½ stone (7lbs, 3-4kg) and refocus on my footwork. My power techniques and the application of them are coming on nicely; my fitness and my explosive fight conditioning are real good and improving still further. I’m going to up the cardio a little in the next few weeks for the specific purpose of burning off a few spare lbs of fat. Losing that small amount won’t affect my power but will assist my speed in movement. I’ll be making corrections from this fight, as I always do, and ensuring I improve still further for the next one!
Overall I thought it was a fun show, and I am awaiting the video so I can see all the other fights as well! Good to see my Swedish friend Tofan, it was a shame his fight ended early where he fractured his shin and had to retire. All the fighters and teams mixed well, and despite battering each other in the ring it was a fun and friendly environment outside!
Good to finally meet up with people like Dave Cummings too!
Hey, Merhdad! Get me on the next one!
Smiler Gary Turner