Knockout Event at the Outlaw Saloon in Cheyenne

Madden vs Arguello (Photo by Rick Dowdy, FUS Photography)

Shelby Ellis
Sparta Sports and Entertainment

Late June’s Army vs Marines 12 in Cheyenne, Wyoming was a night of many firsts for the Sparta Sports and Entertainment team and brought with it many lessons on teamwork and resilience. The Outlaw Saloon teemed with avid Americans primed for a night of combat sports action with a patriotic flair, anticipating 14 fights ranging from MMA, Boxing, to Muay Thai.

Everything kicked off according to plan for the first three fights. The electricity steadily rose through each bout. Keynan Davis vs Jesse Holcombe saw two young martial artists displaying tenacity and grit. Misato Sandoval vs Vanessa Stein had the audience on their toes prior to Sandoval’s armbar finish. PJ McGee then proceeded to blow the roof off with a stunning and convincing knockout of Justin West. The energy steadily snowballed and we were anticipating a complete knockout of an event.

Then the rain hit.

This alone stood as a defining moment for our team. Everyone immediately sprang into action to limit any ill effects from Mother Nature’s steady downpour. We recognized that plans would have to change whether we liked it or not. We still held obligations not only to our fans but to the military service members we planned to honor. Furthermore, this night had been dedicated to a close friend of the Sparta family: veteran Brian Schintgen, who had recently passed. For our fans, these veterans, and Brian’s family, we had to press on.

After a nearly 2-hour rain delay, we finally received the “green light” from the Wyoming Commission to resume. However, this in no way meant that we were out of the metaphorical woods. The once dry canvas had become wet and slippery and remained that way regardless of the attempts to dry it. Sparta team members, referees, and commission members all hit the cage as well as the ring in continuous attempts to provide a safe space for our athletes to perform. These attempts saw varying degrees of success until we eventually had to call it a night for the safety of our fighters.

Her vs Aggrey (Photo by Rick Dowdy, FUS Photography)

While we were unable to fit in the full 14 fights scheduled, we were able to resume with additional bouts even after the rain delay. We witnessed some serious tenacity from our fighters, who delivered exhilarating fights even after the canvases became damp. Joseph Sanderson and Humberto Chavez delivered high-level Muay Thai while competing for the Sparta 153 pound title. Both Cory Madden and Chris Arguello threw serious heat (as well as some friendly trash talk) in their showdown. Joseph Her vs Daniel Aggrey brought high-flying flyweight action for the crowd. Fortunately, we were also able to see our main event rematch between Heavyweights Chris Green and Kenny Lemos come to fruition.

(Photo by Sparta Sports and Entertainment)

We would be lying if we claimed we weren’t a little disappointed with the weather. However, our team displayed an evolution that night. Through the resistance, we pressed on and still delivered an exciting card filled with MMA, Boxing, and Muay Thai action. We were still able to hold our Heroes Ceremony to commemorate Brian Schintgen as well as others and were thrilled to hear how excited Brian’s family was for the honor. Regardless of all the night’s difficulties and uncertainties, we were still able to deliver a successful event to the best of our ability. Now we’re left with many valuable lessons going forward, as well as visions of a team that can function and deliver under crisis. AVM 12 at the Outlaw Saloon taught us many lessons, however, it didn’t teach Sparta how to quit.

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