By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
Desert Xtreme Fights presented by The King of the Cage will debut in Tucumcari in early October.
It’s the first time that an extreme sporting event will be held in Tucumcari. Most of the time these events take place in larger cities.
“We have worked very hard to get an event like this here in Tucumcari,” said Abel Cullum, who will be competing in Desert Xtreme “I would love to defend my title in front of a hometown crowd. We really want people to come out and support us.”
Cullum will be defending his junior bantam weight champion at Desert Xtreme.
A King of the Cage event is a mixed martial arts competition and the evolution of combat that pits warrior against warrior in hand-to-hand battles of skill, honor and art, according to the www.kingofthecage.com Web site.
“From Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to wrestling, Muay Thai to boxing, all styles are encouraged. But, in order to consistently win, participants must be well versed in every aspect of the fighting game,” said the Web site.
In a Desert Extreme event the fights are held in a closed cage. The cage is there not only for its promotional namesake but also for the protection of the fighters, said John Cullum, Abel Cullum’s father.
In mixed martial arts fights, the fight is called when a referee determines one fighter cannot reasonably defend himself, or when a fighter gives up during a submission hold.
The use of submission holds is just as exciting as the physical blows of a well delivered and placed kick or punch, said John Cullum.
The main event will be junior bantam weight champion Cullum in a title defense match against Shawn Klarcyk, from California, who is undefeated.
This will be Abel Cullum’s third defense of the title which he has held since an Aug. 8, 2006 match in Socorro. Cullum’s record is 13-1-1.
And when this 2005 graduate of San Jon High School is not fighting, he’s working as a lab technician at Family Vision in Tucumcari.
Cullum’s trainer and manager is his father John Cullum who has a vested interest in his son’s title fight.
And he has been pushing to bring an extreme sports event to Tucumcari.
John Cullum is also the trainer and manager of Cullum’s Ground Fighting team. Other members of the team who will be fighting are Robert Vargas (2-1), Abel Vargas (1-1), Joe Vargas (3-0) and Bryan Gonzalez (0 -0). These fighters are also Tucumcari natives and excited about the upcoming Tucumcari match.
John Cullum said his devotion and concern is the same for the other fighters as it is for as his son.
“We are like a family. We have grown close and we look out for each other. Every one of these guys I care about just like I do my son.”
The fighters train when they can but all have full-time jobs and that makes scheduling to train difficult at times.
“It’s tough to keep up with training and work,” said Abel Vargas. “It’s a lot of hard work and it pays off in the ring. I’m really excited about this upcoming fight. It will give us a chance to show everyone what we have been working so hard for and a chance to showcase our skills.”
Desert Xtreme will be Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Tucumcari Convention Center. For ticket information contact John Cullum at 403-5432. Seated ringside tickets are $45 each and standing general admission tickets are $25 each.
Matt Guillen is ready to fight>
One Tucumcari figher who plans to be on the Desert Xtreme fight card is Matt “The Pitbull” Guillen.
Guillen, a 1999 graduate of Tucumcari High School, has fought for a year and has a 3-3 record.
“I’m excited,” Guillen said. “There are a lot of people who could not come watch me fight on the road that will finally get a chance to see me compete.
“This might possibly be my last fight for awhile. I’ve decided to take a break and possibly quit the sport all together. If this is my last fight of my career, I would like nothing better than to have it be in front of a hometown crowd.”
Guillen is a member of team Ill Manor based in Las Vegas. He said he first got into the sport to take out some his frustrations. Then, he said, he learned to appreciate the competition and respect earned from the other fighter regardless of the outcome.
Guillen works at Bob’s Budget Pharmacy in Tucumcari as a certified pharmacy technician.