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Cop on the beat: Uproar over ‘extreme fighting’ video
By Dave Wedge
Friday, December 3, 2004

A beefy Boston cop hailed as a rising ``ultimate fighting'' star has come under fire for appearing in a bloody, bare-knuckle basement brawl tape.

Seven-year Boston police Patrolman Sean ``The Cannon'' Gannon and Miami ``pro streetfighter'' Kimbo Slice beat each other to a bloody pulp in the vicious eight-minute video for sale on extreme fighting Web sites.

The brawl, billed as a ``friendly sparring match,'' takes place in a gym with several onlookers, some filming.

Gannon, 34, and Slice, whose brother is a pro boxer, wear no gloves or other protective gear as they brutally punch, kick, elbow and knee each other. Gannon, a 270-pound, up-and-coming ``mixed martial arts'' heavyweight, is declared the winner after Slice is knocked down, apparently unconscious.

Gannon might have violated Boston police policy if he was paid for the video, Boston police spokeswoman Beverly Ford said. Boston police regulations bar outside employment without permission from the commissioner.

Gannon also could run into trouble because he is known to wear his official Boston police hat into the ring before fights - another possible violation.

``If there's any evidence that rules were violated, they will be investigated,'' Ford said.

Gannon, who was unavailable for comment, is a former Gold Gloves boxing champion and past Mass Destruction heavyweight champ, meaning he is recognized as the state's top mixed martial arts fighter in his weight class. He has fought regularly in Revere and is currently in negotiations to appear on a national stage in an upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship event, according to his training partner, Mike Varner.

The controversial, but wildly popular, sport mixes boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and other martial arts and was banned in some states after being criticized by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the early 1990s. Matches are often held in Massachusetts and are sanctioned by the Boxing Commission, including upcoming fights in Taunton next month and one at Avalon on Dec. 11 featuring Varner.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Katie Ford said mixed martial arts fights are legal in Massachusetts but ``no-holds barred'' matches are banned. The only rules in ``no-holds barred'' are no biting, eye-gouging or breaking fingers.

Despite the sport's violent reputation, Varner called it ``one of the oldest forms of sporting events.''

``They think we go in there with the idea of pounding on one another with anger and violence. But it's a sport,'' Varner said. ``We train in many different forms of martial arts. The strategy isn't to go in there and just pound your opponent. It's a live chess game.''
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