May 15, 2011
Trouble Down Under for Canuck Joe Doerksen
NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency
Of all the things a fighter doesn't want to hear from a cage-side doctor inspecting a fresh head wound, "I can see your skull" has to be right at the top of the list.
UFC and WEC veteran Joe (El Dirte) Doerksen unfortunately knows this firsthand.
On March 25 at CFC 16 in Sydney, Australia, the Winnipeg mixed martial artist suffered a TKO loss to current Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard after a barrage of punches and elbows opened a nasty cut on his head.
"(The doctor) said, 'I'm sorry; I have to stop it. I can see your skull,' " Doerksen recalled in an interview with the Sun. "It happens. It's one of the dangers of the sport we're involved in."
A 12-year veteran with 61 professional fights under his belt, Doerksen had never once been told he couldn't continue until that trip Down Under. He said he wasn't concerned about the gash, just frustrated the contest didn't end on his terms.
"It's hard to explain; obviously, it's disappointing," Doerksen said. "I've never had a fight stopped for a cut before in my career. That was a strange feeling. They're like, 'Okay, you're injured; we have to stop the fight,' but you feel fine. Other than the cut, you feel fine. It's disappointing, but the doctor has to do his job like I have to do my job.
"That was the decision the doctor made that night and I'm not going to argue. Afterwards, I looked at the cut after they stitched it up and it was a good one. So I'm pretty sure the doctor did the right thing."
Doerksen, who is on a three-fight losing skid, looks to bounce back when he meets UFC veteran Luigi (The Italian Tank) Fioravanti at the Score Fighting Series card in Mississauga, Ont., on June 10.
Fioravanti's last fight also left a bad taste in his mouth, albeit for far shadier reasons.
Fioravanti dropped a unanimous decision at M-1 Challenge 25 to the recently unretired Andrei Semenov in Semenov's hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia on April 28.
Fioravanti alleges the fight was marred by one-sided refereeing and that Semenov was sniffing an unidentified substance between rounds.
"I'd take the guy down and he was grabbing on the ropes and he was kneeing me in the (groin), poking me in the eyes and throwing elbows (to the head) when there are no elbows in M-1," Fioravanti said. "If you watch the fight, every time he kneed me or something, I (said to the ref), 'He's kneeing me in the balls; he's poking me in the eyes.' I kept telling the referee and he thought I was just bull-----ing."
"The thing is, there's no (athletic) commission in Russia. So his coach was giving him something to smell. I don't know if it was smelling salts to wake him up in between rounds or what. I was just kind of like, 'What the hell? I don't fight like this.'
"It was in a little vial or bottle or something, but what can I say? It's not illegal over there."
You can watch the fight online, but if Semenov was smelling a substance between rounds, it's not visible on the tape.
Fioravanti said he likely won't return to Russia any time soon and is thankful to be fighting under the watchful eye of the Ontario Athletic Commission against a respectful competitor like Doerksen.
"It's a tough fight for me," Fioravanti said. "It's a good fight for me; I think I match up well with Joe. I'm very excited about taking a fight against an opponent like him. He's very skilled."
The upcoming fight will also be Doerksen's first in Ontario as a competitor, but he has already acted as a cornerman in the province. Though MMA is new to the OAC, Doerksen said officials are working hard to make things easy on fighters and promoters alike.
"It was obvious they haven't dealt with MMA a lot, but it was just as obvious that they were making an effort," Doerksen said. "They were making an effort to do things the right way. In just a few shows I think they're going to find their rhythm and things are going to run pretty smoothly. I don't see it being a problem. I've dealt with all different commissions and Ontario seems to be doing just fine.
"I'm looking forward to it. Ontario's a big market. There are a lot of fans out there, a lot of excited people. I want to go out there in front of all those people, put on a good fight and hear them screaming and yelling."
Doerksen said he'll have to be smart about picking his shots and avoid brawling against the heavy-handed Fioravanti.
"I'm a bit more of a technical fighter; he's tends to be a bit more rough-and-tough, a bit more of a brawler," Doerksen said. "I wouldn't say he throws caution to the wind too much. I think he has moments here and there where he overextends himself and is maybe a tiny bit off-balance. But at the same time there is danger in those punches. If you take him too lightly, you're going to get caught.
"The biggest thing with this fight is going to be finding that timing, trying to figure out his timing -- when he throws and when's the right time to counter. If I can figure that out, it's going to be a really good night."