After a night of flying knees, Porter's first fight is in the books.
Saturday night was our fearless Director of Client Services's Porter Williams first amateur Mauy Thai fight. He certainly didn't disappoint. Before the results and color commentary, a little by way of background.
Porter's fight was held on the undercard of a professional fight as part of June Doom.
(For those of you who are not familiar with Mauy Thai and might be referring to it by the generalist moniker of 'kickboxing', it's a martial art originating in Thailand and now practiced worldwide. It involves heavy use of kicks and especially knees unlike Porters previous martial art, fighting with broadswords. Read more on Mauy Thai at wikipedia or watch some on Youtube.)
Ok, here's the blow-by-blow.
HireVue purchased 30 tickets held at will call for anyone who wanted to attend, and we had a section ring-side that was roped off specifically for HireVue. The venue was much better than might be expected knowing that it's basically a gym. The sound was about 20db too loud since we had one main speaker pointed directly at our section and the bass was overextended but the lines of view were clear. It was also nice that it wasn't too hot, which can happen when you have hundreds of people in a space. Unfortunately, they started at least 20 minutes late which is never a good thing when the seats are small and touching each other..
Porters wife and family were on the front rows or our section in support, and when Oumar showed up he passed out press-on mustaches for everyone to wear. They resembled Porter's stache to a surprising degree. (Good job Oumar.)
At about 6:25 or so the fights began. Porter's fight was number three on the card.
Porter has been training in Mauy Thai for months, but this was his first outing in which the other guy would be kicking Porter mid-thigh with ill intent. (If you've never been kicked in this way, imagine standing upright while a college football lineman swings a 2x4 across the outside of your left thigh mid-femur with bad intentions.) Since he was a member of the host gym, he entered first, and his "corner" was directly in front of Team HireVue. When announced, Porter entered the arena wearing a top hat and toothy grin. The effect was that he somewhat resembled Bill the Butcher in shiny blue shorts. He was greeted with lusty enthusiasm by the HireVue group who was sure that anyone in silk shorts and a top hat and sporting that much body hair must be ready for any brouhaha. Porter seemed pretty nonplussed as well and clambered over the ropes and into his corner.
Then his opponent was announced. He was a monster.
No, I'm not kidding. He was actually a monster. His hairy, cabled arms hung down with his knuckles dragging the ground. The great swathe of his back cast a shadow over half of the ring, and his bandy legs were bowed and rippling with muscle as he shuffled along. His mouth twitched and writhed, trailing silvered strands of drool as his many handlers herded him into the ring by beating him with axe handles and iron staves. The top of his brutish, low-browed head towered above the top of Porter's top hat, and he had a single eye locked in a merciless, unblinking, and uncaring stare, surveying Porter as one might eye a particularly tasty, albeit mustached, pork chop.
The crowd went wild, sure that they were about to see Porter ripped limb from limb and actually consumed in pieces by this beastly creature from the depths of a nameless black pit.
On our side, Team HireVue exchanged nervous glances and we rose to our feet in defiance. "Porter!", "Porter!", "Porter!, we chanted.
To be sure, Porter looked impressively defiant and calm. He faced this behemoth with the look of a man who was sure of himself and capable of looking death in the eye, before poking it.
The bell rang.
Forward shuffled "Nog", (I think that was what the creatures handlers were calling it.) it's thick yellow toenails scuffing the ring, mouth agape and arms outstretched in a deadly embrace of coarse sinew and matted hair. Someone in the back screamed.
The three rounds that comprised the actual fight were something of a blur. Porter bobbed and weaved, circling the ring while tattooing the beast with lightning fast punches, kicks, and knees, all while fending off or avoiding a merciless rain of blows that could crumple steel beams and level houses. Any lesser man would have turned tail or been rendered prone and unconscious before being consumed. Porter fought on.
There were some moments when it looked like Porter might have turned the corner, when he backed up his adversary with a carefully timed flurry of head-snapping blows, but as deadly and furious as his strikes were, they had no more effect that a handful of hail thrown against an unforgiving wall, and Nog shuffled murderously forward again.
In the end, it was just too much to ask, and it was the beast's gnarled and clawed limb that was raised as the victor before it was whipped and prodded back into it's sunless cage to feed on fell meats and lick its wounds, awaiting a lesser adversary at some future date.
As the fight ended, Porter stood motionless, alone and shiny in the ring...and then slowly, realizing that against all hope he yet lived, he looked up, he smiled a winning smile, and he raised his arms in triumph.
How can a mortal man prevail against such odds? How can a man expect to live when facing such a mindless monstrosity? How can you grasp victory from the jaws of a nameless dread that feeds on laughter and joy far from the sun?
Porter did. He not only triumphed by going toe-to-toe with a tooth grinding hulk that would have fit among Hercules's great labors (perhaps the 13th), but he tested himself and found that he could look death in its one, ogreish eye, and not flinch. He may not have won the fight, but he won a place among the great heroes of mythology, at least among those who live their lives in silk shorts and top hats. Carpe Diem.
Long live Porter.