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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday ó February 27, 2004


Local fighter
Lee Anderson
knocks on the door

WRHS grad looks to grab Superfight Title

Express Staff Writer

Lee Anderson doesnít look like trouble.

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 Fighting.

Lee Anderson, relaxed, out of the ring. Express photo by David N. Seelig

"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," he said.

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 sponsorships.

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 contest.

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 fight.

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 television.

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. Thatís it.

What about hair pulling?

"Oh yeah, you can pull hair," said Anderson, who keeps a short crop when he fights.


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