Wednesday, May 02, 2007

U of Mississippi KA's Raise $50,000 in Fight Night

KA’s tussle in first Tad Pad fight
By William Browning

The punches thrown Thursday and Friday night by Kappa Alphas inside Tad Smith Coliseum raised more than $50,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Order President Hunter Palmer was pleased with the crowd's turnout and believes the first fight night on campus was a huge success."We expected 700 to 1,000 people to attend each night," said Palmer. "And I was pleased with the turnout."

"We've had (Fight Night) in Batesville for the last couple of years, so this was our first year on campus. The first year of anything always makes you nervous, but, again, I was happy with the number of people who came out," Palmer said.

Banks Shepherd, with the help of Christian Barnes and William Denney, put the event together. Shepherd, a sophomore journalism major from Jackson, said he was happy to see the Kappa Alpha fraternity fight for an admirable cause. "We just feel like we need to give back to the community, and this is our chance," Shepherd said. "And this is a worthy cause. The university wanted this to happen."

"These are guys who are not used to fighting," said referee Chuck Poe, who works for the Mississippi Bureau Of Investigation in Batesville. "They tend to come out too aggressive, and end up wearing themselves out by the middle of the first round."

Each round lasted from two to three minutes.

Poe, who has assisted with Kappa Alpha Fight Night since its 2001 inception, was quick to call a fight after a contender began to bleed. He said the focus was on charity. "This is a great cause that always raises a lot of money," Poe said. Dean of Students Sparky Reardon, albeit with students' safety on his mind, said the same Thursday morning. "I think they've got all of the necessary medical and security needs in place," Reardon said. "(The university) is glad they are raising money for a good cause."

Among the many people who came to witness the bloody brawling among greeks was junior journalism major Richard Wells from Arkansas.

"I came out to see someone get knocked out," Wells said. While no one suffered a real knockout over the course of the two nights, fans did not have to wait long to see blood drawn. Within the second fight of the night, Bobby Kostadine drew blood from the nose of fellow Kappa Alpha pledge Tyler Davidson. Poe declared Kostadine the winner shortly thereafter.

The "medical needs" were covered by EMT James Russell from Baptist Memorial Hospital. "In case anybody gets injured, my role is to evaluate them, analyze the injury, and, if necessary, call an ambulance to take them to the hospital," Russell said prior to the fights. The judges consisted of Mississippi Highway patrolmen Anthony Granderson and Teddy Vaughn, and Scott Michael, a bouncer for numerous gentlemen clubs in Memphis - Platinum Plus, Tiffany's and Danny Owens'. "Hey, you got to give it to them," Michael said.

"Each guy who gets in the ring comes out fighting like a warrior." "What I try to judge these guys on is how well they connect on punches and jabs, not so much on technique," he said. Brandon Dead and Cody Shuffield, seniors at Water Valley High School, acted as corner men, wrapping the knuckles of participants, washing felled mouthpieces and shouting encouragements from the corners.

"We've helped out for past five years," Shuffield said before the fight. "We like doing this, and I tell you, the guys this year are pretty excited." The event, emceed by Kappa Alpha member Will Robbins with tuxedo entailed, featured more than 40 fights. The event, which cost each fighter $10, saw the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity win the over 180-pounds greek division, while the under-180 pounds greek division crown went to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. KA Pledge Andy Johnson won the sorority league division. Johnson was sponsored by Delta Delta Delta sorority.