Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wanted to do another "Fight for the Troops."
Unfortunately, the first time it tried to raise money for wounded veterans of the armed forces, it ended up sending a handful of their own to the infirmary following a grisly night of mixed martial arts (MMA) action on Spike TV, highlighted by dislocated arms, broken legs, stretcher jobs and gallons upon gallons of blood.
Relive the carnage here.
Over two years had passed since UFC Fight Night 16 took place at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the promotion was ready to bring its brand of combat sports back to cable television, this time from the Ft. Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas, on Jan. 22, 2011.
Ft. Hood is named after Confederate General John Bell Hood, who not coincidentally, was a noted fundraiser for wounded soldiers following the American Civil War. What better place then, to hold UFC's charity event for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund?
Now, it just needed a main event.
Former lightweight division number one contender Kenny Florian was pegged as the promotion's platoon leader as it marched its way back onto the airwaves; however, "KenFlo" suffered an untimely knee injury during training camp and had to be replaced.
And with only a month to go before fight night, time was of the essence.
That forced UFC matchmakers to cannibalize their own fight card, pulling top 155-pound striker Melvin Guillard off the Facebook "Prelims" and promoting him to the main event opposite Evan Dunham. His original opponent, Yves Edwards, remained on the card to battle The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 standout Cody McKenzie.
"The Young Assassin" made the most of his opportunity.
Despite being a +185 underdog, Guillard needed less than three minutes to secure his fourth straight win, annihilating Dunham with a series of punches and knees. All the pre-fight talk about the Louisianian's ground game was moot, since the action never found its way to the floor.
Our own Druby Sunshine with the UFC Fight Night 23 play-by-play:
Dunham working to pull Melvin away from the cage. Guillard jumps up and on one leg lands some HARD punches that force Duham to let go of a single. Great combo from Guillard, fast and hard. His speed is amazing. Nice left from Guillard. HUGE right that drops Dunham!!! Guillard pounces and lands a good uppercut now. Dunham grabbing a single but Guillard is landing HUGE blows. Guillard lands a VICIOUS knee and drops Dunham down. Guillard is pounding away and that is it! This fight is over!!!
The official time was 2:58 of the opening frame, just one second less than it took Matt Mitrione to blow away Tim Hague in the night's co-main event. "The Thrashing Machine" was quickly released following his loss to "Meathead" before resurfacing in Canada later that year.
All things considered, the event was a success, pulling in a 1.3 rating for 1.85 million viewers (peaking with 2.5 million). In addition, every fighter made weight and no one failed their post-fight drug tests. Injuries were minor and UFC raised over $5 million for charity.
Not too shabby.
That said, UFC will try to match (or best) those numbers when it rolls out its UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for the Troops 3" event on its new home over at FOX Sports 1. U.S. Army Ranger Tim Kennedy will try to do his battle buddies proud against Rafael Natal this Wednesday night (Nov. 6, 2013) from Ft. Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
And just like its predecessor, this week's benefit MMA show suffered a last-minute change to the main event. But can Natal follow Guillard's lead and secure a bookie-busting upset?
We'll find out in less than 48 hours.