Binky Jones earns brown belt Friday night
Friday night I was fortunate enough to be invited by Binky Jones to his fight party at Canton Station. The party was held on the third floor of the Canton establishment and served as both a celebration of Binky's recent success but also as a pep rally for more good things to come.
The party was very well-attended by Binky Jones' friends, colleagues from his job at the Youth In Transition alternative school, and teammates at Team Ground Control as well students of his from Team Raw Dog. His wife, Sherry, son Savon, and daughter Kayla were in also attendance as was Jones' MMA mentor and Ground Control co-owner John Rallo. A sizable number of attendees wore Ground Control t-shirts and while much of the activity centered around the reserved section on the third floor, the party was so big it spilled over onto the second floor as well.
And, interestingly enough it turns out that Officer Thomas "Herc" Hauk (actor Domenick Lombardozzi) of HBO's The Wire is a bit of a MMA fan too. Lombardozzi trains at Ground Control and was there to show his support for Jones. I have to admit I don't watch The Wire and were it not for my wife I would have never known who the unassuming Lombardozzi was.
Most of the night, the flat screens on the third floor showed a re-airing of last week's TUF 5 finale. However, around 11 pm, the monitors switched to the pay-per-view broadcast of the Ring of Combat tournament finals from April. Jones of course defeated Ian Loveland of Team Quest in that night's lightweight tournament final and that's what many of the attendees were here to watch. By the time Jones' fight was being shown, the third floor was packed. Party goers cheered and clapped as Jones overcame an early guillotine choke attempt as well as Loveland's ground-and-pound. Jones eventually secured an armbar to earn the victory.
After the fight, Rallo and others in the Ground Control brass presented Jones with his Renzo Gracie brown belt. Jones is now one step away from joining Rallo as a black belt. The presentation ceremony was interesting because the three presenters all gave Jones symbolic whacks on his back with the belt.
Jones' next fight is July 14 in Trenton, New Jersey in the first of two fights for BodogFight. Jones' opponent is Nick Agallar (17-5 MMA record), who is a BodogFight veteran as well as a veteran of UFC and WEC.
If Friday night was any indication, much of Baltimore's MMA community will be up in Trenton in two weeks supporting its newest star.