J&C Productions: “Go for broke”

Jeff Bonugli and Chris Lopez
[Jeff Bonugli and Chris Lopez]
The problem with a $50,000 contract is that it is a lot of money. When you tell a fighter he will be given $2,500 a month to help him train, it is to his mind, too good to be true. If they only knew that Jeff Bonugli has already helped some fighters do that very thing! Even their attitude has been, “too good to be true,” and they walked away from it. They’ve gone someplace else to take up the fight game, and we wish them well. For others, less money is more in tune with what they’re used to. For Jeff Bonugli, this has been most frustrating!

When you look at it with clear vision however, you will realize that this is no free ride. There is a catch, and this is that once you have the contract in hand, you have to work to keep it! It is what you’ve been doing all along, and that is train, train, train! You will be doing what you’ve always done, but now you’re being paid to do it. You win the contract because you have trained to be better than the rest. You keep the contract because now you train even harder, to stay on top. What is so hard to understand? You are being paid to devote yourself full-time to training! And on top of the $2,500 monthly fee will come any prize money won fighting for JC Promotions. In a word, only the best need apply.

So, you fight and you lose. You then lose the monthly stipend, right? Maybe. That’s what the contract says. Can there be an exception? If your fight turns out to be a slam banger, where you fought all the way through like the champ you are, and people were on the edge of their seats all the way through the three rounds, and the other fighter gets the nod, my guess is that Mr Bonugli will see it as instead of one champion in the ring, there were two, and he just isn’t gonna throw you to the dogs. He’ll want you on the next card. After all, in the MMA game, there are fighters and there are great fighters, and most great fighters have some losses under their belt, but they’re still great fighters.

Case in point is on the next card, and that’s Cody Williams. He’s had some losses, but Cody puts lots of substance onto any fight card, because losses notwithstanding, Cody is a winner, a champion. He’s a contributor to any card. He’ll take on the best, and when Cody gets into the game, if he doesn’t get it over quickly, there will always be one heck of a brawl. The likes of Cody Williams is what Mr. Bonugli is looking for on his cards. Think about that, you naysayers.

I have known Jeff Bonugli since the day he walked into my dojo in 1974. This thing about his wanting fighters to earn enough to live on, maybe that sounds corny to some, but I’m here to tell you that is how Jeff Bonugli operates. He means it. But again, he’s not giving any fighter something that fighter is not willing to work for. He’s about helping hungry fighters. And he is about exerting the type of influence which will cause other promoters to have to pay up. Look around you. You can see that is already happening, and you can thank Jeff Bonugli for that.

Yes, a week from now is payday in Harlingen. Jeff Bonugli sees this as a ticket for some hungry fighter to the UFC. It is up you really. When all is said and done, this is about attitude. Be an optimist. Believe in yourself and gear up mentally. Winston Churchill, that tough old British Bulldog who energized the fighting spirit of the British people during World War II, put it this way. “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” We wish you the very best. Go for broke. (Cristobal Lopez)

It’s Reckoning Time! Three Title Winners Will Each Get $50,000 Contracts

JC Productions
JC Productions: Jeff Bonugli, Charlie Clark, Chris Lopez

When Jeff Bonugli came to me in 1974, he was nineteen, fresh out of Canyon High School in New Braunfels, Texas. That took some guts in those days, as he was a White boy coming into what was at the time the rough area of town, into a dojo peopled by some as rough characters. Anyone who could fight in New Braunfels trained in my dojo. In the previous decade, New Braunfels had put out two Heavyweight Texas Golden Gloves champs, Robert Mesa and Cheche Rios. Jeff was very aggressive, and from the beginning was always in the winner’s circle. In between tournaments, he would lead others of my students to make fighting rounds to other schools in the San Antonio area. He, along with others of my future Black Belts took on jobs as bouncers in a local night club, where they could put their skills to work. Even as a Brown Belt, Jeff was entering and winning in the Black Belt Division, but in my mind, one of Jeff’s greatest fights, point or full contact, was at George Minschew’s Karate Olympics in Houston, around 1976. The fight was for the championship of the Heavyweight Green Belt Division, and Jeff was pitted against a powerful, and raw boned, Dino Holmsley out of Beaumont. With Dino as an opponent, Jeff was more than well matched. When I see the up and coming Ryan Spann, fighting in JC Productions “Best of the Best” mixed martial arts event, February 1, 2014, in Harlingen, I am reminded of Dino Holmsley. Ryan is the same kind of powerful fighter. My high estimation of Dino was not only in his versatility of technique, because he had that aplenty, but rather because he was also a skilled street fighter, and without question, very tough. In one of the hardest fought fights of the night Jeff came out on top, and in so doing, cinched my estimation of Jeff’s abilities. Dino was also a bouncer, and while in the performance of that duty, was killed breaking up a bar fight in a Houston nightclub. Dino Holmsley was as tough as they come. Nothing but respect for a true warrior to the end. Jeff applied his aggressiveness to business, eventually becoming General Manager of the largest car dealership in San Antonio, currently a partner of a large dealership in the Valley, and now JC Productions. His search for fighters willing to fight for $50,000 dollar contracts is a true fact. Jeff Bonugli, always a warrior, has shown all along that he truly cares for his fighters. The time of reckoning has arrived and, as any warrior, he plans to go down fighting.

J & C Productions
J & C Productions – The Best of the Best
Three $50,000 dollar contracts that will be going out to our Title Winners and a Brand New Car will be given out to someone in the Crowd that night.
For VIP table paper tickets please call Daniel with J&C Productions at 956-622-9053

Leroy Martinez, Analysis of a Texas Fighter – Post Pride of the Valley II

Leroy Martinez
Leroy Martinez – courtesy of Role’s Photos

I like Matt Mooney, I like his intensity. I even wrote an article about him.  But I was a bit disturbed about him calling out Leroy Martinez.  When I suggested he ought wait a bit before taking on Leroy, he countered with, “Do you think I can’t take him?”  Well, I’d crossed a line, it seemed. What do I know?

Learn something, if you will, from an old fellow who has been around the block a few times. In fighting, there is conditioning, and there is mastery of technique. There is also the battle of the will and the psyche, which play a tremendous part of any contest. We’ll address the latter.

We had in the March “Pride of the Valley” event, the grudge match between Rick Palacios and Leroy Martinez, which engaged both camps. Matt Mooney was training with Rick Palacios. Ricky won the event, via a second round knockout of Leroy, after some pretty exciting exchanges, to say nothing of a hard first round for Rick as he struggled to escape Leroy’s ground game. The fight was over, Rick Palacios had won.

Now Matt Mooney calls out Leroy Martinez. Not good. There is the experience factor.  Matt is 1-0 as a pro.  Leroy has got some wins and some losses, but win or lose, it amounts to experience, lots more than Matt has.  “Wait,” I hinted to Matt. But the fight was set, to take place during the second of J C Promotion’s “Pride of the Valley” event.

More trash talk. Matt is going to break Leroy’s arm. (And he would have, if he could have set it up.)  I used to train cops and often gave the following advice: “Don’t put a man in a corner where the only way out is through you.”  For instance, don’t embarrass a man in front of his wife, girl friend, or children, if you can possibly avoid it. You will get more than you bargained for. Some men will die rather than be humiliated in front of their woman.

Matt put Leroy in the corner I’m talking about. Leroy had just lost to Rick Palacios, and now Rick’s understudy, with a 1-0 record, was going to whip him too? Think about that a bit. You can suppose that Leroy’s psyche upped somewhat on that note. He couldn’t wait to get into the ring with Matt. The moral imperative was on his side.  Spectator empathy was behind him, as would be demonstrated on fight night by calls in unison of, “Leroy! Leroy! Leroy!” Matt would have had to break his arm to submit him, as he had threatened to do.

Come the evening of the fight, Matt wanted the fight to come to him, on the canvas.  Leroy did not oblige, but rather made it a stand up game which he dominated. He did not oblige until the last couple of minutes in the third round, when the war of wills was in his favor. Then he descended to the canvas with a vengeance.

Matt has tremendous potential. He’s tough. He’ll be OK. He’s learning, and this is one of those times when much is to be learned from a loss.  When experience is a factor, it may be best not to threaten up; that is from the position of little experience to a position of much more experience.  In a sense it amounts to telegraphing a punch.  And, my advice to cops is good advice anywhere: “Don’t put a man in a corner, where his only way out is through you.”

Fighter Spotlight: ‘Jose Ceja’

Jose Ceja – Photo via Jose Ceja’s FB

Port Arthur’s Jose Ceja, a tough young man with a penchant for deep thought, made his professional boxing debut this past Saturday night at the South Padre Convention Center, fighting a four round Welterweight bout against Ramiro Balli. It was a fight which saw Ceja work the body well. Nor did he neglect the head in a bout which saw Balli in trouble in the second round, and against the ropes much of the time, under the barrage of punches Ceja rained down on him. In the end, the judges voted Ceja a unanimous win in this, his pro boxing debut. Ceja won his pro MMA debut this past March in JC Production’s “El Orgullo del Valle” in a mostly s standup brawl against Mission’s Rene Gonzalez. Ceja also won that bout by unanimous decision. Both Balli and Gonzalez will aver to the fact that Southpaws, and Ceja in particular, can be difficult to fight. As in his boxing debut this past Saturday, the MMA judges gave the fight to Ceja, unanimously. Ceja, who fights with the intent of receiving his young sons approval, trains in Los Fresnos at the Green Ghost Academy with Jeff Bonugli and at United MMA whenever he is in Port Arthur.

On June 21st, Ceja will be on the MMA card for the second of four MMA events this year promoted by JC Production’s“El Orgullo del Valle” to be held at the Pharr Events Center. Cody Williams will be the main event of the night at that “Pride of the Valley, ” MMA event June 21st, and he will be pitted against D’Angelo de Souza Vieira. Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios will meet Jay Dee Martinez in the co main event. A lot is at stake, as fighters are vying for the $50,000 contracts to be issued in March 2014 .

Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios is no fluke


Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios is no fluke, and he definitely loves to fight. He took up boxing ten months ago, and in a tough Rio Grande Valley, where there is no lack of tough fighters of Mexican descent, took the Valley’s Golden Gloves Championship in his weight class.  “El Gallero” (Palacios) is a class fighter, and with a large following. Some hundred and fifty folks drove up from the Valley to see him fight in his Pro MMA debut, in his new role as “El Orgullo del Valle,” (“The Pride of the Valley”).

I was sitting ringside with Charlie Clark  to watch Rickey take on an improved Gerardo Botello in this main event contest.  The first round clearly went to Ricky, but it was obvious he was scoping out, and testing, his opponent. His buzz saw nature emerged in the second round, which he clearly dominated. I was impressed by his utter confidence. Palacios is exciting to watch; you quickly gather he enjoys what he’s doing, and he’s good at his game, controlling the ring and the fight, and handling his opponent seemingly with ease. He moves with fluid grace and power, like a cat, and although Botello appeared physically larger than Palacios, at no time was he able to control him.  One understands Botello taking him to the mat; Ricky’s  stand up game, between bobbing and weaving, is a flurry of devastating punches and damaging round house kicks.  Nonetheless, when on the mat, Ricky employed alligator rolls at will, and in what ever position he found himself, he was fighting, punching, and from what should have been difficult angles, driving punishing knee strikes. He didn’t punch his opponent’s rib cage, he pummeled it, with such power that the impact could be loudly heard at ring side. As Bottello tried desperately to cover his ribs, it was obvious the pummeling was taking its toll. Prior to the fight Ricky had announced to his stand up fight coach and mentor, Jeff Bonugli, that he would end the fight by knockout or tap out. The fight was called as a TKO at 1:47 of the third round.

Nor does one seek to denigrate Gerardo Botello, a courageous scrapper. After all, his opponent was the best fighter in the house. While there was at least one other better than average fighter in the matches prior to the main event, (there was one, and inevitably there will be an exciting match up);  he too would have fallen to Palacios.  Bias? We shall see. Pound for pound, my money is on Palacios, for whom the sky is the limit.  Yes, if I were to bet on any of the fighters in the arena bridging the gap between now, and a future in the UFC, my money would be on Ricky Palacios, “El Gallero.”

Ricky Palacios