The Truth Hurts

Craig Fruth has his gloves and equipment checked before his United Combat League welterweight title defense against Maurice Salmon, who would strip the local teacher and coach of his title with a first-round TKO.

HAMMOND | Maurice "The Beast" Salmon has a penchant for turning out the lights early, but his latest victim insisted that the party wasn't over.

While challenging United Combat League welterweight champion Craig "The Truth" Fruth in the main event of UCL's "Mayhem" card Friday night at the Hammond Civic Center, Salmon caught Fruth with a heavy-handed right to the profile and sent Fruth to the canvas. Salmon immediately pounced and pounded on the prone Fruth before the referee intervened to end the bout 30 seconds into the first round.

For Florida resident Salmon, the short work was business as usual as he added to his series of stunningly quick knockouts achieved during his pro and amateur careers.

"I just take them as they come," said Salmon, who improved his pro record to 5-3. "I look for an opening, and take advantage of it.

"I knew (Fruth) is a strong grappler, so I wanted to make sure there was enough separation between us to keep the fight from going to the ground and to where I had enough room to unload my strikes."

For Salmon, who has recorded one of the fastest knockouts (8 seconds) in MMA history, his power hand is his greatest weapon.

"I never boxed in a sanctioned fight, but I train with a lot of boxers," Salmon said.

For Whiting resident Fruth, it was his first loss in five pro bouts.

"Yeah, I thought it was stopped too early," said Fruth, a former wrestling and football star at Clark, where he now teaches and coaches.

"I wasn't hurt to where I couldn't defend myself. He just caught me. I'm going to get back in the gym and work even harder. If anything, I'm more motivated now than ever before."

Fruth trains with Crown Point-based Team Colon, which was well represented at "Mayhem".

Earlier that night, Team Colon featherweight Lloyd Carter of Gary overcame an illegal knee to the spine to to achieve a unanimous decision over Erik Vo -- the only fight on the 12-bout card to go the distance.

Ryan Peters of Hammond was able to apply a rear-naked choke to get a verbal submission from Jorge Gonzalez-Rolon 2:53 into the second round of their featherweight bout, which served as pro debuts for both fighters.

In the subsequent pro lightweight bout, Jose Verdugo of Villa Park was able to rebound from a near knockout to win by TKO over Mike Demakes 2:56 into the first round.

In a bloody battle between two pro heavyweight vets, Robert Morrow of Lockport caught Serbia native Miodrag Petkovich with a triangle choke to end their affair 1:10 into the third round.

The card featured seven amateur bouts where B.J. Jerrells (featherweight), Kyle Klein (lightweight), Valanti Atsas (welterweight), Kara Vislovski (female strawweight), Phil Garreau (heavyweight), Alex Martinez (welterweight) and Manny Camacho (lightweight) all emerged victorious.

In attendance at "Mayhem" was Ozzie Guillen, manager of the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox. He sat cage side with a group of family and friends.

"I'm not here to cheer for anyone in particular," Guillen said, though most of his entourage displayed partisan support for the Illinois-based fighters on the card. "We're just here to have a good time."


Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso. A South Central High School (1984) and Ball State ('89) grad, he’s covered preps most of his career. He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997.