Rock 'em, Sock 'em

Absolute bouts

SAT 5/1

Even with a trusted Internet search engine, the Absolute Fighting Championships are tough to find. (The first rule of Absolute Fighting is you do not Google Absolute Fighting. The second rule of Absolute Fighting is you DO NOT Google Absolute Fighting. ) Although sale videos abound, actual descriptions are scarce. So, here's a brief Fight Club FAQ.

"Swear you're never gonna Google me again, punk!"
"Swear you're never gonna Google me again, punk!"
Mix the mint juleps, love!
Mix the mint juleps, love!
Club Mud: Mix with other dirty-minded people.
Club Mud: Mix with other dirty-minded people.
Walkers unite! Or just go by yourself.
Walkers unite! Or just go by yourself.

Is Absolute Fighting underground? If it were underground, would Ticketmaster sell tickets? The Absolute Fighting Championships (AFCs) combine boxing, kickboxing, martial arts, and wrestling. They are a regional version of national slugfests like the Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Rules? Bouts are divided by weight into eight classes -- from superfeather (under 135 pounds) to superheavy (more than 225) -- and by experience into Class A (three five-minute rounds) and Class B (two five-minute rounds). A fighter can win by knockout, by referee stoppage, or by an opponent's giving up. If a fight lasts through all rounds, judges determine who wins.

Is that your blood? Some of it, yeah. Fighters' martial arts gloves are smaller and lighter than regular boxing gloves to provide cushion without impairing wrestling ability. Although fights begin standing up, a good submission wrestler with gravitas can quickly bring the game to the floor, unless a better kickboxer keeps the action aloft.

Sir, I want to fight, sir. Sorry, pretty boy. AFC fighters are licensed professionals and sometimes include Olympic-level wrestlers. But if you're really interested, check out Miami's American Top Team and the Freestyle Fighting Academy. Both local teams will be represented in this weekend's fights.

If you're a Fight Club dad, for the sake of your kids, remember... Absolute Fighting takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the War Memorial Auditorium (800 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale). At 4 p.m. Sunday is Beauty and the Beast. Don't mix them up. Tickets cost $15 to $35. Call 954-828-5381. --David Amber

Derby Day

Mint julep time!

SAT 5/1

We all know April showers bring May flowers. May also signals the beginning of summer's bevy of horseracing events comprising the jewels of the Triple Crown. And the granddaddy of them all leads off. It's time to sip mint juleps, mingle with the rich and famous on Millionaires' Row, and gawk at beautiful women in big hats. Yes, for the 130th time, it's Kentucky Derby weekend. The biggest occasion in horseracing is here, and everyone's itching to place a bet. Oh, but what if you're not headed to Louisville? Does that make those unfortunate thoroughbred fans stuck in Florida SOL? Nope. You can check out all the Derby races and even wager on Smarty Jones, or Tapit, or maybe Read the Footnotes at Calder Race Course (21001 NW 27th Ave., Miami) this Saturday. It's also the first weekend of the 2004 season at Calder, so along with the events at Churchill Downs, Calder hosts its first stakes race of the year in the $150,000 Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Handicap. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race is 12:50 p.m., plenty of time to find a seat -- maybe. Call 305-625-1311. -- Russ Evans

Bike Chains and Chain Saws

Clean up with Club Mud

SUN 5/2

Mountain biking in South Florida is a raving oxymoron, but you'll still find two types of riders here: those who wear day-glo bike helmets and padded spandex shorts because they need them for bumping over roots and rocks and those who wear such gear because they think it looks hard-core. Similarly, there are two types of people who use the winding, technical mountain bike trails at Quiet Waters Park: those who periodically volunteer to restore the trails and those who splash mud on the volunteers as they stupidly speed by. We hope that you belong to the former group and that you'll join Club Mud (a group of bike fanatics who "like to have lots of bacchanalia-like fun") for a Trail Maintenance Day. As they so eloquently put it, "What could be more fun than traipsing about the woods with a machete?" Be prepared to get dirty, and bring plenty of water. The event lasts from 9 a.m. puntil noon. Call 954-360-1315, ext. 226, or visit www.clubmud.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon

Walk This Way

SAT 5/1

Does competing in a triathlon sound too intense for you? Does jogging cause too much fatigue? Well, there's always walking, my friend. Don't even try to weasel your way out of exercising this time. Your usual excuses -- the hours don't gibe with your schedule or you plain ol' don't like people -- won't work. The walking club at Hollywood North Beach Park (3501 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood) doesn't require the c word: commitment. Hell, it doesn't even ask you to acknowledge a single fellow human being. You show up whenever you feel like it, choose one of three routes -- a half mile, two miles, or four miles -- and log your mileage on a clipboard near the concession desk. Once you log 100 miles, you win a T-shirt to cover your grumpy -- skinny, maybe, but grumpy nonetheless -- little ass. Call 954-926-2444. -- Deirdra Funcheon

 
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