Bourgas, Bulgaria – When former NFL running back Herbert “Whisper” Goodman left the Mladhost Sports Hall in Bourgas on Saturday night, he did so under the impression that he had suffered his sixth career loss. However, Goodman was informed a few short hours later by M-1 Challenge officials that the decision had been overturned and that he had recorded his ninth career victory courtesy of a second round knockout over ex-UFC veteran Jordan Radev.
Goodman was matched up against the former Bulgarian National wrestling team member as a part of a best-of-five head-to-head match between Team USA East and the host country, Team Bulgaria. The overturned decision allowed USA East to walk away with a 5-0 shutout over the Bulgarians.
Radev was originally ruled the winner of the fight via unanimous decision. However, the 32-year old veteran was knocked out cold by Goodman with just seconds remaining in the final round. With referee Mika Sinkkonen deciding that the knockout took place a split second after the bell, the fight was turned over to the judges' scorecards, with Radev being announced as a winner.
However, a formal appeal was lodged by Team USA East owner/manager Reed Wallace and replays showed that Goodman's knockout transpired just prior to the end of the fight.
“Upon further video review, it has been determined that the knockout punch occurred prior to the bell ending round 2,” International Mixfight Association President Eno Alberga wrote in a released statement. “As such, the punch was legal, and is thus counted… It has been determined that the protest filed by Team USA East is upheld, and the initial ruling on this fight has been overturned.”
Goodman did not learn of Alberga's ruling until after having returned to the team hotel. The former Green Bay Packer expressed satisfaction that justice had been served.
“I was just real curious how a referee could come in and initially stop me and all of a sudden declare him the winner? That sort of just through me for a loop,” stated Goodman. “It's a big relief and now I can inform all the people who view my record on Sherdog's fight finder that I am the winner.”
In addition to Goodman, Team USA members Renato Migliaccio, Steve Carl, Charles Grigsby, and Lloyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks were all victorious in their M-1 debuts.
Migliaccio, who received his black belt in jiu-jitsu from the late Ryan Gracie, improved his professional MMA record to 5-0 following a first round armbar submission over Yanko Yanev, who had been a perfect 7-0 heading into the bout. Migliaccio's victory allowed the U.S. to take a 1-0 lead.
The Americans then improved to 2-0 following Iowa-based fighter Steve Carl's first round rear naked choke submission over Ivan Ivanoff. Like his teammate Yanev, Ivanov also tasted defeat for the first time, as his record had previously been 7-0.
Carl's win improved his overall record to 11-1. A former sergeant in the United States Army who served in Iraq, he is no stranger to representing his country on foreign soil. Despite some apprehension about the partial Bulgarian crowd heading into the fight, Carl was very appreciative afterward about how he was received following his win.
“At first, I was very nervous because I thought it was going to be hostile crowd,” he said, before continuing, “But they were actually well-behaved and one of the best crowds I have ever fought in front of. I was very impressed.”
After Goodman's initial decision defeat, the pressure was on former World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Charles Grigsby to seal up the victory for the U.S.
Grigsby was involved in a close battle with Atanas Dzhambazov that required an overtime round. Utilizing fleet footwork and an outstanding sprawl, the current reigning MCC light heavyweight champion improved to 18-4 after outpointing Dzhambazov in the third and final frame. Grigsby's eighteenth career victory clinched a 3-1 victory for the U.S.
The U.S. then increased the margin of victory to 4-1 following Marshbanks slick first round heel hook submission of Emil Somoilov at 3:27 of round 1.
Marshbanks actually made the trip to Bulgaria on short notice after wrapping filming of an MMA-related reality television in Mexico just last week in hopes of fighting Combat Sambo Champion Blagdoi Ivanov. The fight never materialized but after his win over Somoilov, Marshbanks issued an open challenge to Ivanov, a Bulgarian national hero.
The event at the Mladhost Sports Hall sold out four days in advance even despite the fact that a highly-anticipated World Cup soccer qualifying match between Bulgaria vs. Ireland was airing on television during the run time of the fight card. In addition to the headline matchup of Bulgaria to U.S. East, the crowd was treated to a total of 15 fights, including head-to-head matchups between Team Turkey vs. Germany and Team Russia Legion vs. The World Team.
After being eliminated from the 2008 season of the M-1 Challenge early last year, a revamped German squad managed to record a 5-0 shutout against Turkey. Also, Team Russia Legion made a triumphant return to the M-1 Challenge, winning 4-1 over the World Team in their 2009 season debut.
The third edition of the “M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction” 2009 season is currently scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan on April 29 featuring Japan vs. the United Kingdom, Team USA West vs. South Korea, and France vs. Spain.
Official Results of M-1 Challenge Bulgaria from March 28, 2009 at the Mladhost Sports Hall in Bourgas, Bulgaria:
Turkey vs. Germany –
1. Lightweight: de Leonardis (12-3/69.2 kg/152.24 lbs.) of Germany def. Akin Duran (10-4-1/69.6 kg/153.78 lbs.) of Turkey via triangle choke submission at 2:29 of round 1.
2. Welterweight: Daniel Weicehl (19-6/75.9 kg/166.98 lbs.) of Germany def. Faith Dogan (7-4-1/74.2 kg/163.24 lbs.) of Turkey with a Drace choke submission at 2:29 of round 1.
3. Middleweight: Gregor Herb (3-1/83.3 kg/183.26 lbs.) of Germany def. Ahmed Bayrak (12-4/83.4 kg/183.48 lbs.) of Turkey via rear naked choke at 2:00 of round 2.
4. Light Heavyweight: Martin Zawada (20-8/92.7 kg/203.94 lbs.) of Germany def. Samy Turky (4-3/91.9 kg/202.18 lbs.) of Turkey via TKO at 2:38 of round 1.
5. Heavyweight: Baziak (9-0/96.2 kg/211.64 lbs.) of Germany def. Tugrul Okay (6-1/101.3 kg/222.86 lbs.) of Turkey via TKO at 0:52 of round 2.
Team Germany defeats Team Turkey 5-0.
Russia Legion vs. World Team –
6. Lightweight: Yury Ivlev (34-6/69.4 kg/152.68 lbs.) of Russia Legion vs. Romano De Los Reyes (9-9-2/69.7 kg/153.34 lbs.) def. de los Reyes via three-round unanimous decision.
7. Welterweight: Magomed Shihshabekov (7-0/75 kg/165 lbs.) of Russia Legion def. Jason Ponet (6-5-2/75.6 kg/166.32 kg) via triangle choke submission at 1:34 of round 1.
8. Middleweight: Sergey Kornev (2-0/83.1 kg/182.82 kg) of Russia Legion def. Nathan Schouten (25-16-2/82.5 kg/181.5 lbs.) of World Team via KO at 0:12 of round 1.
9. Light Heavyweight: Gadjimurad Omarov (18-2/92.4 kg/203.28 lbs.) of Russia Legion def. Nills Van Noord (7-4-1/91.5 kg/201.3 lbs.) of World Team via rear naked submission at 2:24 of round 1.
10. Heavyweight: Michael Kitta (6-2/109.7 kg/241.34 lbs.) of World Team def. Akhmed Sultanov (4-3/106.2 kg/233.64) of Russia Legion via KO at 2:30 of round 1.
Team Russia Legion wins 4-1.
Bulgaria vs. USA East –
11. Lightweight: Renato Migliaccio (5-0/69.9 kg/153.78 lbs.) of USA East def. Yanko Yanev (7-1/68.7 kg/151.14 kg)of Bulgaria via armbar submission at 4:45 of round 1.
12. Welterweight: Steve Carl (11-1/76 kg/167.2 lbs.) of USA East def. Ivan Ivanov (7-1/75.9 kg/166.98 lbs.) of Bulgaria via rear naked choke at 3:31 of round 1.
13. * Middleweight: Herbert Goodman (9-5/83.9 kg/184.58 lbs.) of USA East def. Jordan Radev (27-4/83.8 kg/184.36 lbs.) of Bulgaria via KO at 4:59 of round 2.
14. Light Heavyweight: Charles Grigsby (18-4/93 kg/204.6 lbs.) of USA East def. Atanas Dzhambazov (9-2/93 kg/204.6 lbs.) of Bulgaria via three-round unanimous decision.
15. Heavyweight: Lloyd Marshbanks (17-8/116.5 kg/256.3 lbs.) of USA East def. Emil Somoilov (3-1-1/93 kg/204.6 lbs.) of Bulgaria via heel hook submission at 3:27 of round 1.
Team USA East defeats Bulgaria 5-0.
* Fight was originally ruled a split decision victory in Radev's favor. M-1 Challenge regulatory officials later ruled that Goodman had knocked out Radev at 4:59 of round 1 and overturned the decision in Goodman's favor in response to an official appeal.