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Houston Alexander, facing, trains with Mick Doyle. Doyle said his phone has "been ringing off the hook" with endorsement opportunities and people trying to get a piece of the man who lit up the "Dean of Mean" Keith Jardine.


You could say the timing was good for Houston Alexander last Saturday night.

It was the same week Sports Illustrated put heretofore niche sport ultimate fighting on its cover. It was the same night much-fawned-over Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell took on Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the main event in front of more than 14,000 fans in Las Vegas as untold thousands watched on pay-per-view.

And it was when up-and-comer Keith Jardine was to pulverize some cupcake from Omaha on the undercard on his way to a light heavyweight title match with Liddell.

The cupcake - Alexander - had other plans.

Alexander, a part-time Omaha DJ, took apart fourth-ranked Jardine with a first-round flurry of punches. The knockout turned the division on its head, and as one TV announcer put it following Alexander's big-time debut, "Welcome to the UFC."

He meant the viewers. He also could have meant Alexander.

For the unindoctrinated, UFC is a brand of mixed martial arts, which, in the not-so-distant past was known for its no-holds-barred and bloody style. More recently, however, it has adopted a more strict set of rules and is gaining social acceptance as evidenced by mainstream media attention and a growing legion of fans.

That doesn't mean it's for the faint of heart. For instance, Alexander, who went off as a 4-1 underdog against Jardine, unleashed a ferocious series of uppercuts and knees to Jardine's face, ending the fight in 48 seconds. Brutal but efficient.

Now, just as UFC seems primed for a NASCAR-like surge into the national conscience, Alexander has announced his arrival in the new fight game's big leagues, and he's poised to take the whole state of Nebraska with him.

Reached in Omaha earlier this week, Alexander said he was ready to put Nebraska on the map for more than "football and Larry the Cable Guy." A lifetime of boxing and some "dibbling and dabbling" in wrestling gave the 35-year-old a fighting background, and he's had lots of experience fighting in the mixed martial arts minor leagues. At 6 feet, 205 pounds and chiseled by fierce training, he looks ready for prime time.

"I could have left here a long time ago," said Alexander, who went to Omaha North. "I stayed here and stayed on the front line. I'm laying the foundation. (I want to show) we have more than corn and the zoo here."

It's that sort of talk that has begun to draw a local following. After Saturday's stunner, Alexander referenced Nebraska several times in his post-fight interview.

His trainer, Mick Doyle, a local kick boxing and martial arts expert, is aware of Alexander's rising profile.

"A couple of our other fighters were in bars around here (watching on television Saturday) and when he said 'Nebraska,' they said it was as loud as when Nebraska won national championships in football," Doyle said. "He was on a world stage and took care of business."
Alexander's dismantling of Jardine has had Internet chat rooms and insiders buzzing throughout the week. Doyle said his phone has "been ringing off the hook" with endorsement opportunities and people trying to get a piece of the man who lit up the "Dean of Mean" Jardine. And according to Doyle, the attention couldn't come to a better person.



Alexander is a single father of six. He travels the area on his "Culture Shock" school tour, educating children, teachers and others about hip-hop music. He also hosts a radio show on Sunday nights that promotes independent music from around the world.

And then he fights.

Alexander trains three times a day at Doyle's gym. He's enlisted the help of cousin and legendary Omaha wrestling coach Curlee Alexander as well as Willy Stewart, who specializes in Muay Thai, which is based on ancient Siamese battlefield tactics.

"He kept bugging me to train him and I kept trying to put him off," Alexander said jokingly. "He goes hard, though. This is a big deal. We knew he had some qualities in fighting that would give him an opportunity to win. Not a lot of other people thought he would have a chance."

Alexander isn't content with the knockout of Jardine. He'll continue to train in hopes of an even bigger opportunity. Right now the best is "Rampage" Jackson, who knocked out former champion Liddell to take the title.

"I want Rampage," Alexander said. "I know people might think that's premature. But I'm ready to take those steps."

Anyone want to argue?

What is UFC? Ultimate Fighting Championship is a series of international MMA events televised several times yearly and available live or tape-delayed on pay-per-view. No competitor has been seriously injured in a UFC event.

What is MMA? Mixed martial arts is a sport where competitors use the disciplines of jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, tae kwon do and others in a supervised match. No single discipline reigns.

Ways to win

Submission: A fighter taps on the mat or his opponent three times (or more) or verbally submits.

Knockout: A fighter falls from a legal blow and is either unconscious or unable to immediately continue.

Technical knockout: The referee stops the contest.

Judge's decision: Depending on scoring, a match can end as:

Unanimous decision (all three judges score a win for one fighter)

Split decision (two judges score a win for one fighter, a third for the other)

Majority decision (two judges score a win for one fighter, a third for a draw)

Unanimous draw (all three judges score a draw), majority draw (two judges score a draw)

Split draw (the total points for each fighter is equal)
A fight can also end in a technical decision, technical draw, forfeit, disqualification or no contest.

Judging criteria The 10-point system is used for UFC fights. Three judges score each round and the winner receives 10 points, the loser nine points or less. If the round is even, both fighters receive 10 points.

Competitors use 4 to 6 ounce gloves, designed to protect the hand but not large enough to improve the striking surface or weight of the punch.

Weight classes
Lightweight: 146 to 155 pounds
Welterweight: 156 to 170 pounds
Middleweight: 171 to 185 pounds
Light heavyweight: 186 to 205 pounds
Heavyweight: 206 to 265 pounds

Time limits and rounds
Every round in UFC competition is five minutes. Title matches have five rounds, and non-title matches have three rounds. There is a one-minute rest period between rounds.

No head-butting or kicking to the downed opponent
No knees to the head of a downed opponent

• No downward point of the elbow strikes

• No strikes to the spine or the back of the head

• No groin or throat strikes

The Octagon
The UFC uses an octagonal caged enclosure, "The Octagon." The cage is composed of an eight-sided metal fencing with a diameter of 38 feet. The fence is 6 feet high.
Sources: UFC and Wikipedia

TTT for corn and the zoos.

I too am from Nebraska, let me tell you, when Houston came out with a Husker hat on the people at my party became instant fans, when he beat the shit out of Jardine we were going so nuts the neighbors called the cops, when the cops showed up we told them what happened and they turned over a car and burned it!! It was of the hook (huk?)


when houston won, i was so excited i went to a map and located nebraska on the map. but by the next bout, i had forgotten where it was.

Damn, a single father of six?? How does he have time to train?


He trains 3 times a day I guess. First workout is before the kids get up.