Winning fast at Fury on the Fairway




If Saturday's weather did not bring in a storm, then the fighters of the Fury on the Fairway MMA event at The Golf Club at Southwind's clubhouse sure did as several local amateur fighters partook in the fighting festivities.

For Cindy Benitez, her first ever MMA fight ended in triumph as she knocked out her opponent — Jamie Mix of Liberal — just 45 seconds into the first round. It was Mix's first fight as well.

"My first fight was exciting," a jubilant Benitez said afterward. "I was nervous at first, of course, with the adrenaline and with just everyone being here. It made it a lot more nerve racking because you don't want to lose in front of your fans, especially at home. It's always good to win your first fight, you know, especially with a knockout."

The crowd roared with cheers as Benitez' short-lasting fight went on, which Benitez says helped pump her up even more.

"It motivated me a lot more with all these people and the noise. I really think I wow'd the crowd," Benitez said.

Benitez' athletic background drove her into joining MMA.

"I'm an all-around athlete. I used to box in high school and just thought I'd try (MMA) out. It really all started cause one of my friends was actually going to fight and couldn't drop the weight so I was like 'I'll fight for you'," Benitez said. "I just started about a month and a half ago."

For others, joining MMA was a way to stay involved. A troubled adolescence led Garden City's Grant Brungardt to begin fighting.

"I was in school at JDC (Juvenile Detention Center) and once I got out my mom wanted me to stay involved in something so I joined. Being in MMA has changed my attitude. I guess you could say I completely turned around," Brungardt said.

Brungardt's fight against Fran Bailon of Leoti ended after a blow from Brungardt left a gash above his eyebrow. The referee ruled the fight as a no contest.

For Enrique Chairez, the 34-year-old competitor says age does not play a factor into fighting.

"I don't look at age. All that matters is getting that 'W'," Chairez said.

Chairez defeated his opponent, Bill Holcomb of Liberal, in the second round with an arm triangle from the bottom at the 2:45 mark. Saturday night's fight left Chairez with a record of 1-1.

Not all the fights ended as the contenders hoped they would. For Cesar Carbajal, his fight against Benito Hernandez of Liberal ended early by what he says was an error by the referee.

"I really don't know what happened. He took me down and the ref said I passed out and that I didn't answer his calls and called it off. It was easy as that," a disappointed Carbajal said. "Everybody saw that my hands didn't go limp and he says my hands went limp."

Carbjal says he and his coaches are going to fight the outcome and see if the match will be ruled as a no contest.

"My coaches and I are taking it to the state. They'll review the video and see. Hopefully we'll get a no contest and then a rematch in October," Carbajal said.

Carbajal believes the outcome would have been different if the referee did not make the call.

"I trained, I knew what he was gonna do. I guess I just let him get in my head a little bit. If there wasn't that bad call I think I would've taken it. I know his (Hernandez) fights haven't passed the first round. I just wanted to take him to the second and be the only one that has taken him," Carbajal said. "He's a 5-0 guy, undefeated, and I'm 3-3. It was a good opportunity for me, a challenge."

Approximately 200 fans were in attendance at the outdoor event, in which the ring was set up just to the east side of the Southwind clubhouse.

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