Lip-splitting fun in Seoul this weekendA bloody, testosterone-laden sport muscles its way into town this weekend. A series of Spirit MC 4 Revolution no-holds-barred fights will be held Saturday at Jangchung Gymnasium near the Shilla Hotel on the edge of Mount Namsan.
As its name suggests, no-holds-barred fighting, or ultimate fighting, involves using just about every part of the body as a weapon, though certain movements ― including pinching, biting, fishhooking, head-butting, elbow blows above the neck and attacks on the spine, the testicles or the back of the head ― are banned. Ultimate fighting was first introduced to Korea at Jangchung in March 2003.
Nine matches are scheduled between stand-out fighters from the last free-for-all in April (which, accurately enough, was titled “Spirit MC 3 I Will Be Back”). Both Korean and foreign fighters will appear, representing a wide range of disciplines including hapkido, karate, jujitsu, kickboxing and judo. Those who weigh more than 80 kilograms (178 pounds) are classified as heavyweights; the others are middleweights.
A match between Na Mu-jin, 21, and Lee Chi-seong, 23, is being touted as the must-see event. Mr. Na, a middleweight fighter standing 190 centimeters (6 feet, 3 inches) tall and weighing 80 kilograms, is the defending champion. Mr. Na, whose specialty is hapkido, knocked out another finalist just 54 seconds into the first round at the April contest.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight. I will defeat him,” Mr. Na said after that match.
After losing in the semifinals of Spirit MC 2 last October, Mr. Lee trained hard to rebuild his reputation, and urged Spirit MC, the organizer, to pit him against Mr. Na. Trained in kickboxing, Mr. Lee stands 180 centimeters and weighs 80 kilograms.
Another promised highlight is the match between Dennis Kang, 27, of Canada and Cobus Fisherman, 33, of South Africa. Both Mr. Kang and Mr. Fisherman hail from the world of jujitsu. Mr. Kang, who stands 181 centimeters and weighs 95 kilograms, rose to stardom at the Spirit MC Inter League last February.
A match between heavyweight wrestler Kim Min-su, 26, and judo expert Yang Jin-ho, 30, may also merit watching. Mr. Yang is a heavyweight champion from the Neofight mixed martial-arts competition; Mr. Kim is a former member of the national wrestling team.
The fighting starts at 5 p.m. at Jangchung Stadium, which can be reached from Dongguk University Station on the No. 3 line. Tickets range from 10,000 won ($8.60) to 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 706-5585 or visit www.spiritmc.org.
by Limb Jae-un