By Al Stover
Caleb Sherman stood across the cage from Charlie Shultz, who had beaten him 71 days ago. Sherman awaited the sound of the bell before the fight began.
In the beginning of the rematch, Sherman and Shultz exchanged some punches before they took the fight to the ground with Sherman grabbing Shultz’s heel. After a quick battle on the ground, both fighters stood up and Sherman landed a head kick that stunned the crowd and sent Shultz to the ground with a broken jaw.
Sherman and Schultz were just two of many fighters who competed in the King of Cheney 3 event, presented by the Ironfist Fighting Championship at the Cheney plaza, May 12. The event featured 14 fights.
The first match between Shultz and Sherman had taken place at King of Cheney 2.It had ended after Shultz, who has over 20 fights on his record, busted Sherman open in the first round, then scored a submission on Sherman in the second round.
Several seconds after the referee stopped the fight, Sherman waited across the cage and talked with his corner and watched the medical personnel check on Shultz.
Although he was excited for his victory, Sherman also felt guilty for injuring Shultz.
“I just want to get out of here,” Sherman said. “I feel trapped with my guilt.”
As Shultz was carried out of the plaza on a stretcher, the crowd applauded, which Shultz responded to by giving them a thumbs up. Moments later, Sherman was officially declared the winner, which also received an applause from the crowd. While Sherman was concerned for Shultz, he was also glad to have avenged his loss.
“I’m basically a ground-game guy and [Shultz] bested me there, so I worked on that kick just in case with my buddy [Josh] Strickland and my corner [Mack Zavala],” Sherman said.
Alissa McCoy, another one of Sherman’s training partners, had fought Ariel Jones earlier on the card. Although McCoy was able to exchange punches with Jones and land more kicks. She also attempted several single-leg takedowns. However Jones, who was over six feet in height, was able to control the fight and get a technical knockout in the first round. Despite being 0-2, McCoy plans on continuing to fight.
“I think I am going to cut down to 140 [pounds] because I don’t think there are many girls who are six feet tall and 140 pounds. That’s my game plan. I’m gonna fight a couple of more times and I want to get a win.”
Several fighters made their debut at the event. Nalo Leal, a boxer who had never had any MMA training, had taken a fight against Brant Raftis on three hours notice. In the opening seconds of the fight, Raftis went for the takedown. Although he was on his back, Leal was able to secure a guillotine choke to get the submission win.
“I saw a neck and I put my arm around it,” Leal said. “From playing video games that’s the only thing I knew how to do.”
The fight of the night was a heavyweight bout between Tyler Dammerman and Curtis Flett. In both the first and second round, Dammerman and Flett had back-and-forth exchanges of punches before Flett was able to get Dammeron on the ground to delivered several more punches to the body before the referee stopped the fight.
The event ended with the undefeated Christian Nibarger defeating Justen Billing for the King of Cheney 135-pound championship.
For Nickerson, the event went well overall, despite having to turn some people away because of the limited capacity in the plaza.
“There was one injury and I really hate seeing that,” Nickerson said. “I’m not here to see anyone get hurt.”
Nickerson and his staff donated $200 to help Shultz and his family with medical bills from the surgery.
Nickerson plans on holding the next King of Cheney event in June or July.
While the events will continue in Cheney, his fight with Shultz may be the last time Sherman walks into the cage.
“It was going to be this fight, or [a fight] next month was going be it because I was just in it for fun,” Sherman said. “Now that I reconciled my loss and maybe did a little bit more damage than I wanted, I think it’s time to call it. I’ll end with an exclamation point.”
Donations to Shultz and his family can be sent to: 2326 Hwy 25 N. Evans, Wash. 99126