Friday, March 23, 2007

Visalia resident wins fighting championship debut

By Damian Marquez

LEMOORE — A last-minute switch of opponents did not deter Mike "The Animal" Cook from winning his Palace Fighting Championship debut Thursday.

Cook, who had seen several potential opponents replaced leading up to the "Fast and Furious" mixed-martial-arts fight card at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, found out at 3 p.m. Thursday that yet another change was in the works. It didn't matter. The Tulare Union graduate and Visalia resident won by technical knockout 17 seconds into the second round of the heavyweight match.

Cook threw a punch that hit his opponent, Scott Wimmer of Taft, in the throat. The fight was stopped so Wimmer could be examined; he could not continue.
"My original opponent came up with an injury last minute," Cook said. "But, like I said before, I'll fight anybody. Right now I'm trying to build my mixed-martial-arts record."

Cook improved his young MMA record to 3-1, and Wimmer, who was making his pro debut, is 0-1.

"I got some mixed applause, but I think that was the Taft section," Cook said. "I don't think the fight should have been stopped, but that's not my call."

Cook is trying to get onto a Total Combat fight card that will take place next month in San Diego. He also hopes to return to the Palace for future PFC events.

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