My First Mixed Martial Arts MMA Fight in NYC

Back in early the early 2000’s, I had been regularly training in Brazilian Jujitsu, Kickboxing, and MMA. I had a great group of training partners, a good friend as a lead instructor, and I was very hungry and eager in nature!


I had heard about this underground show called “The Underground Combat League.” I decided I wanted to check this event out. So I attended a few of the secret shows. That was the first time I saw Andrew Montanez, and he fought several times in one event. The guy was a beast. Do keep his name in mind.

andrew montanez 2

After attending these few events, and only after 6 months or so of fight training, naturally I felt that I was ready for one of these underground fights!

angel rodriguez mma

I worked it out with my team and the promoters, and they scheduled a fight for me. The opponent that they had set me up with was relatively new, just like me, and it was meant to be a very evenly matched event. I couldn’t wait to get into the ring and test myself under these circumstances.

However, things don’t always work out as they are supposed to, especially when it comes to the unregulated fighting and the characters involved in underground fighting.

On fight day, I had my team, and quite a few friends (including my future wife) present to show support.


While I was in the “warm up area” I was informed that my opponent did not show up, however, they had someone else to take his place. Andrew Montanez. I remember thinking to myself, “that’s the guy I saw fight a bunch of times, before I had even begun to really train.”

Obviously, I was not pleased with this turn of events. Andrew was at a different skill level than I was, and much more experienced in all aspects of the fight game. I was just set up for an ass whooping, and I really considered pulling out of the fight. However, with all my friends and family present, I felt that I was obligated to perform. So I took the bull by the horns, and I went for it!


As I entered the ring, I was shaking, I was super nervous, terrified and nearly paralyzed where I stood. It was really weird though, once I settled in at my corner, all the screaming, the shouting, the booing, the applauding, and everything else just faded. I saw nothing, I heard no one, it was just me and the ring.

andrew montanez

Then I saw Andrew walking over, the guy looked calm as can be, just another day at the office. I couldn’t believe how casual this guy was about this! We are about to fight bro! Of course, my first fight, was probably his 2oth competition, or even more? To him this was nothing, I was just another person to crush.

Now I was in it, there was no turning back, and I had to think of how I could whoop this guy’s ass.


The only option that I saw at the time, was to try and lure him into a striking match with me. Clearly he was more skilled, but anyone of us could land a lucky punch, and if I could hit this guy as hard as I hit the bag, there was a good chance that I could knock him out. That was it, my strategy was a lucky punch!

Though that plan never did come to pass.

Very early on Andrew threw a kick, and he fell to the floor, I immediately backed away and invited him to get up so we could continue. I did not want to fight a wrestler on the ground, remember my plan was to land a lucky punch. Again, Andrew kicked, and this time he caught me in the arm, (it hurt by the way, and bruised pretty badly) and then he shot in for the take down.


He managed to get me in the place I didn’t want to be within moments of the fight starting. At that point I knew that I was done, that’s not to say that I could have won standing, but everyone has a puncher’s chance.

While on the ground, I couldn’t get the guy off of me, he was very sticky, and made himself very heavy. He managed to knee me in the head, and eventually got a full mount and started to rain down punches.


The referee was saying “Do something Angel,” apparently he couldn’t see that I was trying, but I couldn’t get the freaker off of me! LOL. So I covered my head and tried to turn in hopes of getting him off, but the punches kept coming, and the ref saw that I was merely a punching bag at this point, so he stopped the fight and the unavoidable outcome came to pass. I lost.


Andrew Montanez had beaten my ass, as was thoroughly expected.

This was my first and only MMA fight, the experience was fun, but the bait and switch, it left a really bad taste in my mouth. I had reluctantly agreed to another fight another time after that, and again, the person was a no show. They then offered a replacement, they asked that I fight this dude named Shawn Obasi. I knew Shawn, and I promptly told them NOT A CHANCE! They pulled that switching crap on me once, they won’t catch me a second time!


Due to personal reasons that I won’t be sharing, I eventually disassociated myself from that organization. However, I have never forgotten fight club, and my first vale tudo fight.


Since then, I went on to marry one of my lady friends that came to watch me compete, and I still remain friends with Andrew and most of the guys from that time frame. Good time, good times!

For your humor and enjoyment, here is video of my first MMA fight.

Shout outs and credit due to Anil Melwani for all of the MMA.US photographs.


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