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Featherweights Erik Lee and
Jason Fleming fight for belt
Mixed reactions to Fleming’s victory
at Reality Fighting
Jason Fleming punches Erik Lee, on ground, securing the Reality Fighting Featherweight Belt on Nov. 2 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Photo by Nicola Faraone
By Brian Woodman Jr.
The audience that attended Reality Fighting’s Nov. 2 event at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville appeared divided about the outcome of the main bout; a featherweight title fight between belt holder Erik Lee of Hartford’s Underdog BJJ and Jason Fleming of CTMMA. Ward previously defeated Domenic Gagliardi of Bristol during a Reality Fighting event at Mohegan on June 8.
Several people booed and catcalled the referee’s stoppage at 2:04 into the first round after Fleming knocked down Lee and continued to do as the belt switched hands and the post fight interview began. Sources associated with Lee called “an early stoppage.”
Others expressed their support for the decision. They could be heard chanting “let’s go, Fleming” earlier in the fight.
“It is clear that Erik got caught with a good punch but it did not knock him out,” said Russell Leak of Underdog BJJ. “At the point of the stoppage he was still intelligently defending himself. In a title fight I believe the ref has to let it go a little longer, to the finish. This is what these fighters deserve and prepare for. Ultimately I think the stoppage was an over-reaction to the brutal KO in the preceding fight.”
Joe Cuff, the matchmaker for Reality Fighting, said Lee’s camp had the option of requesting that the Mohegan Tribe’s athletic commission review the outcome.
The fight that Leak referred to was a middleweight bout between Jason Ward and Ralph Johnson,. It ended with a knockout at 1:01 into the first round after Johnson knocked down Ward twice with shots to the side of the head. There was also a brief stoppage at about 10 seconds into the fight until it resumed.
Ward left the arena on a stretcher. Johnson appeared to earn respect from a crowd that was initially openly hostile to him.
There were two other first-round finishes that evening. Nate Russell defeated Kenny Morrell at 2:41 in an amateur flyweight fight after sinking a rear naked choke. Manny Bermudez submitted Joshua Carrero with a guillotine choke at 31 seconds into their amateur bantamweight fight.
Featherweight Dan Dubuque won an unanimous decision over Grant Mosley during another amateur bout. Mosley attempted a submission toward the end of the first round but Dubuque was saved by the bell.
Evan Scott submitted Manny Millan at 3:39 into the third round with a rear naked choke. Both fighters generally stood up during the first round, but ground work gradually dominated the bout as it progressed. Millan dragged Scott to the ground during the first round and was striking aggressively, but during the second Scott kick Millan and made him fly into the fence.
Leon Davis won an unanimous decision over Bradley Desir. Davis generally dominated the fight through grappling and tried unsuccessfully throughout the bout to sink a rear naked choke.
Reality Fighting will hold it’s next Mohegan Sun event on Jan. 4. A bantamweight fight between Joey Gomes and Joe Cushman will determine who is the next bantamweight champion for the organization.
Current champion Emil Haddad has been injured and unable to fight for a year, according to Reality Fighting spokesperson Joe Cuff. Haddad must fight the winner of the Jan. 4 event to retain his title, said Cuff.