by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
This upcoming weekend marks the Las Vegas debut of one of the more innovative combat sports ideas in a long time. Created in the mind of longtime martial art luminary Chuck Norris, the World Combat League matches six fighters (plus reserves), five men and one woman, against each other in team-based fighting with a major emphasis on action.
Among the teams competing this Friday, March 3rd at The Orleans Casino will be the Dallas Dragons, led by longtime MMA standout Guy Mezger as coach. Among his fighters are MMA veterans Pete Spratt and Tra Telligman, ready to be lead into battle against Jesse Finney’s Denver Destroyers.
“Chuck Norris and his son Mike Norris live in Dallas and I had been involved with them in a TV show,” said Mezger of how his initial involvement with the WCL came about. “Mike had called me I went over and had a meeting with Chuck at his house, he showed me his vision and I climbed on board with it.”
The WCL has already had one successful show in Dallas and now branches out to Las Vegas for the first time. The sport features an innovative system where each pair fights one three-minute round, and depending on what happens, that round is scored. After all six pairs have gone, they go again, at this point substitutions may be made for injured, KO’d, or non-performing fighters. At the end of the total 12 rounds of action, the points are totaled and a winning team is determined.
When asked what he felt the WCL’s new take on the fighting sports and what it brings by way of uniqueness, Mezger commented, “What it does is put a new spin on the old martial arts tournaments. Those were a simulation of self-defense, that’s what Karate was meant for, not a sport, and then over a course of years, years, and years it’s evolved into the joke it is today. So what this is, is a much faster paced game, it’s set up with shorter rounds so it allows you to have an all-out fighting experience.”
Guy continued, “The team orientation adds more strategy to the game and let’s be honest, nobody is going to come watch someone fight one three-minute round, but they are going to watch a whole team do that rapid fire, one right after the other. What really changes this up is the strategy; you have alternates that can come in. So let’s say your 175lb fighter isn’t doing so well, you can yank him and you can substitute in your alternate. Plus it gives people a team to cheer for, like not everybody knows the names of players on teams, but they still root for the team, so it help builds up a fanbase that supports the sport, not necessarily the individuals that may come and go (over time).”
Mezger, along with the whole Lion’s Den team, were among the building blocks that helped early MMA evolve into the sport that it is today. It is apparent that Guy is pleased about having the opportunity to bring his life full circle and do it again for the next new hybrid fighting sport.
“I’m excited about it, if I wasn’t in retirement mode I’d definitely like to compete,” explained Mezger. “Basically there are three major combat sports out there right now, boxing, K-1, MMA, and I think this will take its place as the next big fighting sport. It took people a while what MMA to get it, so it will take people a little while to get this, but it is kick and punch which is universally translated, so it may be quicker than MMA. I love fighting sports and I’m very excited about being a part of this and I would love to see this take off.”
Guy further stated, “This is an opportunity for people to get to know a lot of phenomenal athletes that they might not have gotten noticed in a format that gives them a chance to showcase what they do. A lot of these fighters had limited avenues before and this is their opportunity to shine.”
As for Mezger himself, he remains busy in retirement and continues to challenge himself in everything he does. “It’s going to be a busy year for me. We’ve been opening martial arts schools and implementing real martial arts, MMA, and it’s been a tremendous success. Creating new athletes, we have some young pros coming up out of my Lion’s Den, I love to see my guys come up and take off. We’re in the promotion business, promoting shows here in Texas and I’ve got a TV production company now that’s putting together a show called ‘Badass.’ It’s a funny show, it’s like ‘Jackass’ meets the UFC, it’s a little racy right now because of the subject, so we have to tone it down a little, but we hope to get that on TV soon. I haven’t been sitting on my ass this last year, I’ve been very busy with work and raising the most beautiful son on the entire planet.”
Guy concluded, “Two things I’d love every to do, I’d love them to come visit me at my website GuyMezger.com and see what we’re up to and what’s to come. We’re putting together training seminars with Kenny Monday, a Gold Medal wrestler; he gives great seminars so people interested should come in. Also you should check out the WCL at WorldCombatLeague.com and check out what these guys are putting together. We’re really working hard to make this the next great fight sport in America.”