knocks on the door
WRHS grad looks to grab
By MICHAEL AMES
Express Staff Writer
Lee Anderson doesnít look like
Yet the Wood River High graduate
of 1989, a football player and wrestler in high school, has become
Idahoís most feared submission fighter.
The "Superfights" that Anderson
competes in are known as Mixed Martial Arts bouts or Submission
Lee Anderson, relaxed, out of the ring. Express photo by David
"I had been involved with
wrestling and kickboxing and jujitsu and I realized that these fights
were a way to put all those skills togetheróit seemed designed for me,"
In Andersonís first fight in 2002,
he knocked out the top ranked lightweight.
Since then, Anderson has been
ranked #1 contender, but even that keeps him one step below the
lightweight title. So, heís been looking for a fight with the champ,
Boiseís Brandon "Big Dog" Shuey, who fights for Team Hardcore.
Recently, on Dec. 27, 2003,
Anderson returned to Boise for a fight at The Big Easy. The venue,
though small, "sells out and the energy that comes through the place is
amazing," said Anderson.
He easily took care of a
challenger lightweight, knocking him out in 90 seconds.
Lightweights must weigh in under
160 pounds; Andersonís 138 pounds means often giving up a substantial
amount of mass to his opponent. Obviously, his smaller size hasnít hurt
him. He is determined.
Anderson is currently focusing his
energies on one thing: taking down "Big Dog" Shuey.
Lee said, "Itís something Iím very
excited for and Iím confident I can capture the title. Iíve been #1 for
two years now and they have been avoiding me. Iím knocking on the door."
Shueyís team has accepted the
challenge. A date for the title bout in Boise is tentatively set for
mid-March, Anderson said. Meanwhile, Anderson is seeking local
In the coming weeks, most of
Andersonís energy will be focused on the goal of falling "Big Dog" Shuey.
Between now and that March fight date, Anderson plans to travel to
Portersville, Ca. for a Gladiator Challenge bout.
Pride motivates Anderson
Andersonís pride as a fighter is
great. It stems from the fact that he isnít a full-time athlete.
With his training partner Mitch
Coats, Anderson makes time to train before and after his full-time job
at Anderson Asphalt, a family business run out of Bellevue for 30 years.
Anderson is not sponsored. He
doesnít get paid to do what he does. He does it for the pure love of the
Along with the skills and
techniques of the various martial arts, there is the matter of physical
and mental conditioning, key aspects of the sport. "Thereís a lot of
passion involved," says Anderson. "Itís not violent like everybody
thinksóit involves a lot of honor and heart."
Though it makes his
accomplishments all the more impressive, Andersonís lack of a sponsor
creates a tremendous strain and could limit his full fighting potential.
He said, "It puts us as a
disadvantage when the top guys are sponsored."
Andersonís last victory came over
a sponsored fighter, but it may be overly optimistic to think that
Anderson can continue to defeat fighters who are paid to train and
The premise of Superfights is a
"two men enter, one man leaves" concept: the fight lasts until one man
either submits or is knocked out cold. The combatants fight in an
octagonal metal cage. A referee brings some order to the violence.
The fights gained popularity after
first arriving in the U.S. in 1993 with bouts aired on pay-per-view
The philosophy of the Ultimate
Fighting Championship is "to bring together champions of various martial
arts and Olympic sports, such as karate, jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing,
wrestling, sumo and other disciplines to determine which style would be
most successful in a tournament."
Winning it all at Superfights is
"not my main goal," said Anderson. "Eventually I would like to do
Ultimate Fighting and Pride."
Pride is Japanís version of
submission fighting and the largest mixed-martial arts competition in
the world. The main events can draw crowds of over 50,000. The UFC in
Las Vegas can attract over 10,000 spectators.
There are precious few rules to
superfighting: no eye gouging, no biting, no use of finger or toe nails.
What about hair pulling?
"Oh yeah, you can pull hair," said
Anderson, who keeps a short crop when he fights.