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Outrageous News of the Day: Man Who Cornered 12-Year-Old Son At One of His Illegal Events Is Alabama’s First Licensed MMA Promoter

By Mike Russell

(Nothing like a shady promoter profiting off of the blood, sweat and tears of fighters.)

Last year when a video began circulating of a pair of eight year olds competing in a three-round grappling exhibition in a cage during the intermission of a UK-based MMA event, the Internet exploded with outrage from pundits and fans of the sport.

Widespread worldwide media coverage of the match prompted the police in Lancashire, England where the event took place to launch an investigation into whether or not any laws were broken by the promoter. They ruled that the event was not illegal and that the boys were never in any harm and as unsettling as seeing two pre-pubescent youths competing in a cage meant for men was, since they were only basically having a no-gi grappling match no charges were ever laid.

It’s too bad that Alabama authorities aren’t as thorough.

On July 30, 2011 in Priceville, Alabama a local karate school owner by the name of Robert Clairday held an underground event in which two 12-year-olds actually fought inside a ramshackle homemade cage.

One of the kids, Christian Echols, is the son of Ray Echols – Clairday’s business partner in his gym, Fear None MMA, who also helped promote the rogue event that was held at Morgan County Celebration Arena — a dirt floor horse arena.

(Video courtesy of YouTube/EcholsRazorRay)

During the bout Echols, who is also the CEO of American Xtreme Combat (AXC), can be heard shouting instructions to Christian. After an accidental clash of heads cuts his son on the crown and leaves him staggering around the cage, Echols tells him he’s okay and persuades the official to let the fight continue. No doctors were on hand so the boy was never checked by one and the bout went on for two more rounds.

(Video courtesy of YouTube/EcholsRazorRay)

After the bout both kids went to the hospital. Christian got eight staples to close the gash on his head. His opponent got several stitches on his cheek.

Here’s a photo of Echols’ injury:

(Video courtesy of YouTube/EcholsRazorRay)

It’s bad enough that anyone would allow a 12-year-old to fight, let alone under such unsafe conditions, but at the time the event was held, MMA in Alabama was illegal and anyone in attendance in any capacity could be charged with a misdemeanor while the promoter and fighters could be charged with a  class C felony and could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine.

In February of 2010 legislation was passed that turned the Alabama Boxing Commission into the Alabama Athletic Commission.  The change allowed the AAC to govern MMA as well as boxing.  After years of tournament-style fights with participants fighting as many as five times in a night in home made cages with no blood work, MMA was going to be forced to go legit.

The commission told promoters and fighters to stop putting on shows and stop fighting until they could establish the rules and issue licenses and warned that if they continued to promote illegal events they would be denied a promoter’s license when they began doling them out. Most stopped promoting events to comply with the AAC’s request.  Others, like Echols and Clairday continued to promote events with no doctors present, no blood work and no regard for the safety of their fighters, who were not paid as they were classified as amateurs in spite of the fact that the promoters were cashing in at the door.

In April of 2011 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed legislation making it a Class C felony to promote or to fight in the state Alabama without a license, yet many promoters like Echols and Clairday continued to thumb their noses at the law and continued to hold unsanctioned shows in spite of the law.

(Video courtesy of YouTube/EcholsRazorRay)

Echols held AXC 10 and AXC 11 at the Cullman Civic Center in Cullman, Alabama on April 2 and June 4, respectively, and was in the process of booking his next event in August when he was informed that the county would not rent him the venue and that if he held the show elsewhere, he would be charged by police.

Fast forward to January and now Echols, in spite of his past history and blatant disregard for fighter’s safety, has been granted the first official promoter’s license by the state to hold an event at the same venue he held numerous “unofficial” ones at tomorrow night.

In a recent article in the Cullman Times, Echols pretended like he never held an illegal event when describing how some fighters have competed in unlawful shows like the one he put on in June.

“I personally wouldn’t have [fought on one of those unsanctioned cards] because I’m not willing to take that chance,” he said, ignoring the fact that he allowed his underage son to compete at one such event. “I’m not playing Russian roulette.”

(Video courtesy of YouTube/AlabamaMMA)

Calls and emails to the Alabama Athletic Commission for comment on their promoter application requirements and restrictions were not returned.

Unfortunately it’s people like these that are holding back the sport we love, but if commissions don’t take them seriously, someone is going to be gravely injured or die at one of these underground shows. Hopefully this story, and ones like it being brought to the masses can help prevent that.


Cagepotato Comments

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MMA_Hole- January 28, 2012 at 4:33 am
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the match in Britain and no true MMA fans were in any way outraged. It was just a grappling exhibition, no different from sparring that goes on in BJJ clubs across the world each and every day.
Fat Tony- January 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm
But,anticipating this cowardice, the Youtube vids were saved by some forward thinking people. They're right here.

Now go help spread the word. Please.
goquickly- January 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm
Mike Russell Says:
Fri, 01/27/12 - 05:34

AAAAND….all of the evidence of the 12-year-olds fighting has been removed from daddy’s YouTube account.

Hasn't been removed from the internet, here is a compilation of screenshot's showing that not only was this a fight that took place, but it was also not his first fight that his dad and dad's friends have put on.
Mike Russell- January 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm
AAAAND....all of the evidence of the 12-year-olds fighting has been removed from daddy's YouTube account.
NinjaVanish- January 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm
This is sad, alot of guys used to do this in Iowa before they required blood work and guys to fight at the same contracted weight. We used to just show up, sign a waiver, weigh in and fight. I don't even know why we weighed in, as I've seen guys 185lbs fight 290 lb guys. Hell I even fought a guy who weighed 250 lbs I weighed in at 194. One time in Des Moines a guy got his arm severely snapped above the elbow, they duct taped a fucking pool stick to his arm and instead of taking them to the hospital, they just let him sit at the bar and drink. Worst part was we were all amateurs, and four hundred to six hundred people each paying 20 bucks a head to see the fights, and we never saw a fucking dime, plus we had no insurance coverage and dudes would be getting destroyed. The most legit of those type of promotions were Travis Fulton's CVFA, they would at least help people get to the hospital post fight, and during the intermission the they would raffle off half of the door proceeds back to the fans.
Fat Tony- January 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm
Yeah, no joke. I'm in Alabama and when people began sending links to this to the Facebook page "MMA in BAMA", they were promptly deleted and the people posting were blocked.

Apparently the test-tube babies who run the page ENDORSE the actions of this maniac making bank via having bloody children's bum fights.

Whatever anyone out there can do to put heat on these criminals would be welcomed by the (apparently) few people who see a problem with it here in Alabama.
Ricardo Guitardo- January 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm
Does anyone know if the guys son was paid for his fight or not? Or does this guy keep his son's winnings?
macreadysshack- January 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Yeah, Mom, let's just sweep that old dirt under the carpet. Everyday is a brand new fresh day just full of possible felonies.
Keep it classy, AL.
mom of mma- January 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm
I have read this article and even though I haven't been to one of the events yet, tomorrow night I am happy to say that will change. I will be their supporting all of the fighters who have trained and worked so hard for the opportunity to fight tomorrow night. Now correct me if I am wrong but the fight tomorrow night the fighters must be at least 18 years or older to participate. I don't know about what all has gone on before now but I am super excited to see what goes on from this point forward.
TheJuggernaut- January 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Fuck. I live in Priceville, AL and I have been to a few of claridays shows. Me and a couple of my friends, that actually train at 10th Planet JJ in Decatur, AL, go to these shows to make fun of the people fighting and the people there...I guess bad publicity is better than no publicity.
Jackbequick- January 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm
Yeah, they supposedly had a falling out after a heated argument over waxing. When they were sitting at the dinner table, Cyborg finally had enough and tossed her bowl of turnbuckle stew at the wall never speaking to her dear father again. Word has it that her arms are that size from furiously trying to brush the green out of her tongue. Ungrateful fuckin' bitch if you ask me.
El Guapo- January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm
Speaking of next of kin, did you know Cyborg is the daughter of Goeorge "The Animal" Steele?
Jackbequick- January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm
@ El Guapo

Thought for a second there you were referring to the referee. Then I realized that's Diddy Kong Bundy, King's son. That was a hell of a slam. Seems the side suplex is a weapon Big Bundy picked up over the years. Ya gotta love them wrestlers that never stop evolving. Wonder when Bam Bam Bigelow will get in there and mix it up.
El Guapo- January 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm
If you liked Macho Mn in the first pic, you're gonna love King Kong Bundy in the last vid.
Excellent form on the Alabammer Slammer, Mister Bundy. Very fashionable leotards, as well.
jonathanbegood- January 27, 2012 at 11:50 am
It wouldn't be so bad if the kids wore headgear.
GistoftheFist- January 27, 2012 at 11:44 am
That poster looks like what schoolchildren do with cut and pasted pictures. He has room for all of that jumbled crap but can't be bothered to use the word "at" instead of using "@"? Bumfights had better production values than this.
Jackbequick- January 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

I was fabricating what Echols said to the ref to let his kid keep fighting. Surely a man of Echols intellectual superiority wouldn't say "it's just a gash". The ref would have stopped it right away, you know, cuz he's smart. Smart like being in a video with two minors illegally cage fighting.
ArmFarmer- January 27, 2012 at 11:25 am
If he's talking about that gash in the pic, that is not a strawberry. That's a gash, aka (insert animal name) vagina.
bootystar- January 27, 2012 at 11:25 am
@Sloppyspray, Ya I never read it either. it could have been all politics & I would know
Sloppyspray- January 27, 2012 at 11:24 am
Not gonna lie, that slam at 1:50 of the last video was sick. Fuckin, free Willy jumping the jetty!
ArmFarmer- January 27, 2012 at 11:23 am
A strawberry is basically a bloody rugburn.
Nicky Boomz- January 27, 2012 at 11:21 am
Is this the promotion where the kids from that mtv reality show fight?
Sloppyspray- January 27, 2012 at 11:19 am
Isn't Echols the name of one of those 3 kids that apparently murdered a kid in the woods in Tennessee or something? (but it may have actually been the uncle)
Sloppyspray- January 27, 2012 at 11:16 am
@Viva Hate - hahaha I literally skipped the entire article to post and ask if that was macho man haha
KillBurnDestroy- January 27, 2012 at 11:14 am
This man is the Michael Vick of parents.