Daniel Puder beats opponent in first round; shows thanks to
local fanbase for support
San Jose – Daniel Puder has two distinct personas. His hardcore, intimidating personality exudes confidence when he steps in the ring and his kind-hearted, grateful personality inspires him to give back to fans and the community.
More than 18, 260 fans packed the HP Pavilion on Friday night to watch Shamrock vs Gracie Strikeforce, California’s first-ever sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card. The sellout crowd set the North American attendance record for mixed martial arts events, breaking the previous record of 14,274 at the Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell vs Randy Couture fight in April of 2005 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Former Morgan Hill resident, Puder, returned to the ring in his first mixed martial arts fight since 2003. Puder, who won the World Wrestling Entertainment’s Tough Enough Challenge in 2004, relished in the hometown crowd cheering him on as he strode out to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, carrying a large American flag.
Weighing in at 222-pounds, the 6-foot-3 Puder was confident going into his fight with Colorado’s Jesses Fujarcyk and, saying prior to the fight, “I can’t wait to kick his butt.”
On Friday night in the caged ring at the Pavilion, that is just what Puder did.
With the crowd on his side, Puder entered the ring looking fierce and staring Fujarcyk down. The announcer became intelligible as the raucous crowd drown out the pre-fight instructions.
Puder came out at the bell quick and began pummeling Fujarcyk with punches and kicks. Fujarcyk, bleeding profusely from his most likely broken nose, had enough 1:54 into the first round as he submitted to Puder by tapping out.
Nearly as quickly as it began the fight was over and the crowd showed their appreciation.
As soon as the fight was over, Puder’s hardcore demeanor changed as he hugged his opponent and tapped his head. Then Puder grabbed the microphone from the announcer and thanked the San Jose crowd for coming out to support, much to their delight.
Puder, also a philanthropist with two non-profit organizations that reach out youth in northern California, came out into the crowd after the fight and indulged the audience members with photo and autograph opportunities.
Puder was gracious and kind, thanking adults and children alike for their support, posing and smiling on cue for photos. He was the only fighter to mingle with the crowd during the event. He stopped and talked with anyone who called out his named and congratulated him on his win.
Puder created the Puder Strength Training program and the Tough Enough Kids organization to reach out to reach out to youth in northern California. The Puder Strength Training program helps young athletes learn the necessary skills to condition their bodies effectively and efficiently and donates equipment, while the Tough Enough Kids program sends Puder on regular trips to the hospital where he attempts to lift the spirits of terminally ill children.
“It’s a big reason why I’m doing professional sports. It’s nice to go into a hospital where there’s a dying 12-year-old sad as hell and, when I walk in, he couldn’t be happier,” said Puder.
Friday night’s victory marks Puder’s (2-0) successful return to the world of mixed martial arts fighting. The icing on the cake was the chance for Puder to get the victory in front of an adoring hometown crowd.
Frank Shamrock won the main event against Cesar Gracie on Friday, taking Gracie out 21 seconds into the first round.