Saturday night's fights were all right

Michael Boylan's picture
The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater hosted Southside Slugfest II Saturday night and the place was packed with people watching grown men battle each other in hand-to-hand combat inside a locked cage.

Are you not entertained?

It doesn’t matter if you were or you weren’t, the people in the seats seemed to enjoy themselves. I know I did, although I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first one.

The fights weren’t as good. No fight went beyond one round and there were more than a few that were over in 30 seconds or less. Though I got in for free, there were several people around me who didn’t feel like they got their money’s worth. There was a lot of booing after the main event didn’t live up to expectations and there was also a bit of grumbling in the parking lot. If there is a Southside Slugfest III, though, they will be back and so will the other 2,000-plus people that filled the place.

I get the feeling that a third one isn’t a sure thing, though. Word on the street is that promoter Cory Nestlehutt will continue to have to jump through hoops and I’m afraid a very vocal minority could cause some problems for this event.

When the first Southside Slugfest came to town, people lit up our message boards and wrote letters about what disgusting things ultimate fighting and mixed martial arts are. They said that this type of event isn’t something that should be supported by a community that poses itself as a place to raise families.

I say that is a load of hooey.

Having attended both of these events, I can tell you the crowd that supports mixed martial arts isn’t a bunch of drunken neanderthals. I saw people from all walks of life and there were all ages in attendance. There were a lot of women at both events, as well as a number of families and lots of fathers and sons.

I just wish that people were able to say, “This isn’t my cup of tea, but to each his own.”

I could give a hoot about Tony Orlando, but you don’t see me trying to tell people that Tony Orlando shows shouldn’t take place at the amphitheater, because the thousands of people under the age of 40 who live in the county couldn’t care less about his mellow brand of coma rock.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you don’t like it, don’t go.

Peachtree City and Fayette County are way more diverse than many of you might think and it is about time that the venues in the area try to recognize that. I’m glad “The Fred” had the courage to get an event like this and I’m sure they do all right financially when it is over too.

I would love to see them recognize that with five public high schools in the county and three more in the county next door, they could probably get a currently popular recording artist to play a sold-out show or two, as well. Up and comers often cost just as much as has-beens.

I say the sky is the limit, though.

Bring in Lucha Libre — the masked wrestlers from Mexico — get some classical music in here, have a salsa night, host a comedy night, show movies and let local bands play. “The Fred” and other venues in the area — not just amphitheaters — are dark too often. They should be brimming with activity and everyone in the community should have at least one event that catches their eye and brings them in, whether it’s grown men beating each other or Tony Orlando crooning about yellow ribbons and old oak trees.

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