Friday, 16 October 2009

Who Is Alex Reid Anyway?

If you were to ask your average man in the street who the most well known cage fighter in Britain is at the moment, you’d probably get a mixed response.

Some would say Michael Bisping, the most high profile Brit in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and rightfully so. Indeed, Bisping actually placed fourteenth in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year poll a couple of years ago.

Some would mention Paul Daley, mainly because of his recent impressive win in the UFC, or even current Ultimate Fighter contestant James McSweeney. Ian Freeman might even get a mention.

But the name that most people would mention would be Alex “The Detonator” Reid. But sadly, Reid wouldn’t be known for his mixed martial arts career.

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past few months, Reid is the current beau of former glamour model and tabloid favourite Katie “Jordan” Price. Ms. Price has recently gone through a messy divorce with Aussie pop star Peter Andre. The two of them met while they were contestants on dire reality show “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”. And I say dire in the nicest of terms.

It seemed like a day didn’t go buy when we didn’t hear something about what Katie and Peter had done to each other. The insults came thick and fast, mainly through the pages of the tabloid newspapers.

But then, this past July, a new face entered the scene, the aforementioned Mr. Reid, and since then he’s been in the papers as much as Katie and Peter.

We seem to have heard it all, haven’t we. It began with the simple Alex is a cage fighter line. It then developed to Alex is starring in a film that glorifies rape, to Alex is more than a father to Peter’s kids than Peter is, Alex shops for toys with Katie instead of training for his fights, to Alex likes to wear women’s dresses. Today, having apparently engaged in an argument with Peter over the phone, news has it that Alex has challenged Peter to a fight.

But what about Alex Reid the mixed martial artist? We’ve heard a great deal about what happens in his private life, but how does he actually fare within the confines of the cage?

This year Alex has competed in two kickboxing fights for the Ultimate Challenge UK promotion, defending his UK1 title. He hasn’t exactly been that impressive, folks. The first fight last July saw him knock out Jake Bostwick. Bostwick came out swinging for the proverbial fences, and halfway through the first round Alex caught him with a knee. Bostwick failed to beat the count in what was considered by many to be a lucky win.

Last month Alex defended his title against Jack Mason in what was a highly publicised fight, with Ms. Price cheering on her man from cage side. Many people were critical over Alex’s apparent lack of training going into this fight. Mason began slowly in the first round, but certainly upped his game as the fight went on, while Alex visibly tired. Many people, including yours truly and television commentators Pierre Guillet, Rob Nutley and Malcolm Martin thought Mason had won the fight. The judges, however, seemed to be watching a different fight, as Alex got the unanimous decision.

But as far as his mixed martial arts career goes, is Alex Reid actually any good. Well, the proof is in black and white, or rather on several MMA websites. Alex has twenty one MMA fights under his belt. From that he has secured eight wins, nine losses, and one no contest. But here’s the interesting statistic for you - he hasn’t actually won an MMA fight since July 2005, when he defeated Kyosuke Sasaki at Cage Rage 12. Since then he’s lost seven in a row, including losses to Murilo “Ninja” Rua and “Professor X” Xavier Foupa Pokam. Okay, so he hasn’t fought professionally as an MMA fighter for two and a half years, but the facts don’t lie.

Which really makes you wonder why Dave O’Donnell, the head honcho of Ultimate Challenge UK, and Cage Rage before that, has apparently put so much faith in him.

Well, the answer to that is simple really. Alex Reid is the most high profile cage fighter this country has ever seen, because of his association with Katie Price, and his almost constant daily appearances in the tabloid press. Tons of publicity for Alex means tons of publicity for the promotion he fights for, Ultimate Challenge UK.

Which brings me on to my next point. Alex Reid has become the man the fans love to hate, to the point that most of those in attendance at the Mason fight were there just to see him get the beating of his life. So when he was announced as the winner, despite putting in a sub-par performance, the fans weren’t exactly too happy. It makes you wonder, though, just how these nameless judges came up with their decision. Could it be that the powers-that-be told the judges that Alex must get the decision, no matter what? Unfortunately, MMA promotions don’t have any sanctioning body here in Britain, so given the somewhat dubious nature of the decision, there isn’t anyone who can actually investigate it, or order an immediate re-match between the two fighters concerned.

Sadly, this sorry state of affairs is set to continue, with Alex continuing to make daily headlines, not because of his fighting career, but because of who he is having sex with at the moment. So what will happen next? As Alex has promised to “sort out” Peter Andre after their telephone argument, will Dave O’Donnell try to promote a Reid/Andre grudge match on an upcoming Ultimate Challenge show? Given that former Big Brother contestant Ziggy was due to fight on one of his shows in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised. The freak show element would certainly turn out in force for a Reid/Andre showdown.

And the rest of us long-time fight fans will hark back to the days when fighters were known for fighting, and not for dressing up in stockings and suspenders.

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