16 Images

Ready to Fight

Mixed martial arts fighter Phil Baroni strides into the ring wearing a sparkling red robe at Pride Fighting Championship’s first U.S. event, Pride 32: the Real Deal, on Oct. 21 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Pride has achieved considerable success in Japan and hopes to challenge its main U.S. rival, Ultimate Fighting Championship. Pride events begin with pyrotechnics and laser lights. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Spencer Fisher cheers after making weight on the eve of his lightweight bout with Dan Lauzon at Ultimate Fighting Championship 64: Unstoppable on Oct. 14 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Fisher went on to record a technical knockout of Lauzon at 4:38 of the first round. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Lightweight Kurt Pellegrino shakes hands with fans after his victory over Junior Assuncao at Ultimate Fighting Championship 64: Unstoppable. Pellegrino won by submission at 2:04 of the first round. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Two fighters square off in the octagon at Ultimate Fighting Championship 64: Unstoppable at Mandalay Bay. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Welterweights Kenny Florian and Sean Sherk, right, engage in a bloody fight to the finish during their five-round bout at Ultimate Fighting Championship 64: Unstoppable. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Arianny Celeste, one of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Octagon Girls, walks around the octagon between rounds with a placard showing the number of the next round. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Sherk, top, has Florian pinned on his back. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Bloodied but unbowed, Sherk faces Florian. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Florian lies on the canvas mat in the octagon after five rounds of bloody fighting with Sherk, who won by unanimous decision. Neither fighter was seriously hurt, suffering only facial cuts and bruises. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Sherk lies on a locker room table as a doctor stitches cuts on his forehead. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Doctors and fight officials check on fighter Travis Galbraith after he lost to Kazuhiro Nakamura at Pride 32. Pride events in Japan routinely attract upward of 30,000 fans. The organization said 11,727 people attended Pride 32, its first U.S. event. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Coaches and corner men yell instructions to their fighters during a 10-bout Total Fight Alliance event, Fight Night Fright Night, on Nov. 3 at the Carson Center. Total Fighting Alliance is one of many organizations hoping to capitalize on the rising popularity of mixed martial arts. (Mark Boster / LAT)
A fight breaks out among fans during the Total Fighting Alliance event in Carson. Deputies stepped in and ejected the unruly fans, but made no arrests. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship, shakes hands with fans at the Oct. 13 weigh-ins for Ultimate Fighting Championship 64: Unstoppable. His Las Vegas-based organization, which was $44 million in the hole three years ago, had its first profitable year in 2006. Its pay-per-view events average 500,000 “buys,” most at $39.95 a pop. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Ultimate Fighting Championship Octagon Girls Arianny Celeste, left, and Rachelle Leah pose for a photo with a fan at Ultimate Fighting Championship 64: Unstoppable. (Mark Boster / LAT)
A battered and beaten Mark “The Hammer” Coleman is hugged by his daughters after losing to Fedor Emelianenko in a heavyweight bout at Pride 32. (Mark Boster / LAT)