Press Release by Jeremy Luchau (PFC)
LEMOORE, Calif. – Pat Runez isn’t changing anything.
The Scottsdale, Ariz. mixed martial artist sat in his sixth-floor room at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino with his gear packed and ready to go to fighter check in.
Meanwhile, two floors down, Runez’ opponent for the vacant Palace Fighting Championship World Flyweight title laid in bed, writhing in pain.
“I thought I would be able to do it. I thought I would just fight as hard as I could in the first round,” said Thailand’s Rambaa Somdet (6-2), who pulled out of Thursday night’s bout with Runez because of an injured neck.
“It’s a pre-existing injury. I’ve had it forever, six or seven years now. I think I have a torn tendon or something in my shoulder and I woke up after weigh-ins and I was in so much pain.”
Runez (5-0) says he still can’t believe it and will treat today’s PFC 12 just like any other event.
“I’m still preparing like it’s going to happen, like I am going to fight. I’m holding out hope he shows up and fights,” Runez said. “I’m going down to fighter check and the rules meeting. I still can’t believe what happened.”
Runez didn’t find out that the fight had been scratched until early Thursday morning after breakfast.
“His corner let me know what was going on this morning right after breakfast. They said he was hurt. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it sounds suspicious to me. He seemed fine at weigh-ins and now all of the sudden he wakes up and can’t compete,” Runez said.
Runez and Somdet both won flyweight tournament semifinals in November and were the focus of tonight’s stacked PFC 12 “High Stakes” card.
“Undoubtedly, we are disappointed with the circumstances which have led to the flyweight title fight being canceled,” PFC President Christian Printup said. “Injuries do happen and that’s part of the sport, but you never expect something like this to happen the day of the fight. We have to roll with it right now and put our focus on the other fights tonight. We look forward to Rambaa recovering and hopefully we can get Pat in there soon to vie for the vacant flyweight title.”
Runez hinted that several options are currently being discussed, which include Las Vegas, Nev., grappling phenom Ulysses Gomez (2-1), who is scheduled to fight February 6 at the Palace against Sacramento, Calif.’s David Suarez.
“I’ve heard that we might be able to fight Ulysses in February or possibly May,” Runez said. “We are going to have to sit down and talk about some things and work some stuff out. If it doesn’t happen in February, I’d be willing to fight him or Rambaa in May.”
It is still unclear whether Somdet will be able to compete anytime soon, according to his manager Kei Maeda.
“We aren’t sure if this is something that he has to have surgery for or not,” Maeda said. “He was scheduled to fight for the Shooto belt in May, but he wants to come back to the PFC and fight. We are going to have to see what the doctors say when we get back to Japan.”
Somdet says this is only the second time in his career that he has had to pull out of a fight because of injury.
“I just want to apologize to Pat, the PFC and most importantly the fans,” said Somdet, who noted he had been fighting since he was 7-years-old. “I woke up and I was just in too much pain. I trained harder for this fight than any fight in my career and that includes all my Thai fights. I was looking forward to fighting here in Lemoore, for these fans and against Pat.”
Still on the card are four other PFC title fights, as Porterville, Calif.’s Shawn Klaryck (9-2) defends his PFC Bantamweight title against Duluth, Ga.’s Jeff Bedard (9-2); Fresno, Calif.’s Jorge Evangelista (8-2-1) defends his PFC Featherweight title against Atlanta, Ga.’s Diego Saraiva (12-8-1); Bakersfield, Calif.’s Brian Cobb (14-4) defends his PFC Lightweight belt against Las Vegas, Nev.’s Lance Wipf (8-1); and Ensenada, Mexico’s Olaf Alfonso (7-9) and Turlock, Calif.’s Jeremiah Metcalf (10-6) battle for the PFC Interim Welterweight championship.
In other bouts:
-La Celle St. Clous, France light heavyweight Cyrille Diabate (12-6-1) vs. North Hollywood, Calif.’s Lodune Sincaid (14-6).
-Paris, France middleweight Xavier Foupa-Pokam (19-9) vs. Utah’s Kasey Uscula (15-12).
-Fresno, Calif. heavyweight Lavar Johnson (10-3) vs. Sacramento, Calif.’s Dave Huckaba (9-2).
-Fresno, Calif. lightweight Billy Evangelista (8-0) vs. Honolulu, Hawaii’s Harris Sarmiento (25-18).
-Las Vegas, Nev. lightweight Evan Dunham (6-0) vs. Sacramento, Calif.’s Dustin Akbari (3-0).
-Houston, Tex. lightweight John Gunderson (16-6) vs. Oakland, Calif.’s Alexander Crispim (3-2).
-Sacramento, Calif. featherweight Tito Jones (5-2) vs. Oakdale, Calif.’s Justin Smitley (5-2).
-Eugene, Ore. bantamweight Jason Georgianna (8-3) vs. Oakdale, Calif.’s Michael McDonald (6-0).
-Harrisburg, Pa. light heavyweight Phil Davis (1-0) vs. Visalia, Calif.’s Josh Green (0-0).