Real Prison Fight: Warrior v Big E. (by Warrior Part 3)
Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce.
Part 2 left off with Warrior preparing to fight Big E. in the Octagon (Shower 1).
I went downstairs and sat in a blue plastic lawn chair that the barbers use when cutting hair. JJ plugged the hair clippers into the wall, and I pretended to cut my hair. I glanced at the officer in the tower, who was fiddling with some paperwork, wondering how serious he took his job. Does he pay attention to every detail or just want to do his eight hours and go home?Picking up on this, JJ said, “Hey, homes, this chota [cop] don’t care ’bout shit. You ain’t gotta sweat notheen.”
“Right on,” I replied. Now I knew I could handle my business and not worry about going to the hole again if we were caught fighting. One less factor my mind didn’t have to waste energy on.
“Orale, you’re done,” JJ said, then waved at the officer in the control tower. JJ pointed at me, then upstairs to an open shower, then made a motion as though he were washing his hair, to let the officer know I was going to rinse off.
The control officer nodded his approval.
“Peep game. Go upstairs like you gonna shower. When you hear me, pop cell 25, give it a coupla minutes. I’ll whistle and that means he’s ready and waiting.”
I’ve always thought of myself as a quick learner. In prison or when doing drug deals, you have to be. There’s no room for error, especially when your safety or life is on the line. I knew that many fights were arranged like this when guys in prison felt disrespected and needed to “handle their biz.” A routine I was now familiar with on that yard, one I’d never forget.
I rose from the chair and headed to the upstairs shower. Passing cell 25, my peripheral caught sight of Big E. staring out of his cell door, like an animal waiting to be fed. I went into the shower and closed the door. I took a couple of deep breaths to calm myself as I felt the anxiety and adrenaline kick in. I cracked my neck from side to side and started to shadow box in order to warm up and get into battle mode.
“Pop 25!” JJ yelled.
A few seconds later, I heard the cracking of Big E.’s cell door.
My anxiety heightened. I could hear my mind start to panic about all the what-ifs. What if he knocks you out? What if he breaks your nose? What if he tries to stab you? I shook my head as if to shake those thoughts off like drops of water. Get a hold of yourself! I told myself. Assess the situation. OK, he has you beat on size and weight, so close the distance, fight tight. If you fight close he can’t use his power. Take him off his feet, and you know you can dominate him. Most of these guys are just street fighters. Your experience gives you the advantage. OK, I had my game plan. I was as ready as I could ever be.
What was only no more than four minutes seemed like an hour. Staring at the shower door, I sparred and stretched. I couldn’t help but notice all of the graffiti scratched into the stripping paint on the shower door:
WEST SIDE PHOENIX
CHUCO LOVES SAD GIRL
IF YOU’RE READING THIS I DISTRACTED YOU FOR A FEW SECONDS HA HA HA
That last one made me laugh. I’ll never forget it. Then I heard the whistle.
Opening the stall and stepping out, I noticed several other guys out of their cells. Gangster being one of them. Some guys from another pod had heard about the fight and snuck over to watch. A few acted as though they needed haircuts, others acted as though they were looking for cleaning supplies.
I was sure half of them were wondering how badly I’d be beaten up by Big E., and the rest hoping I’d be the one to humble him.
Everyone locked in their cells were at their cell-door windows. Even the ones who couldn’t see were stood by their windows as they didn’t want to be the last to know who the winner was.
Walking the gauntlet of stares, I headed down to the handicapped shower.
JJ and Gangster stopped me before I went in.
“Hey, homes,” JJ said, “if a cop comes, we gonna yell trucha [watch out]. You vatos break it up and come out one atta time, so you don’t get busted.”
“Yeah, we’ll keep the cop distracted. We’ll cover you two. ,” Gangster said, then whispered to me, “Fuck this fool up, dawg.”
I went into the shower. A large area. Tan tile shielding the floor and walls. Its dimensions reminded me of a boxing ring.
Big E. was at the opposite end, waiting, shirt off, shorts on, shoes tight, his whole body covered in ink.
We started after each other, but before my hands could get up, he caught me with a series of jabs: left, right, left. I stumbled back, but he didn’t knock me down. His reach was longer than I had anticipated, my instincts yelled, Catch up, or he’s gonna drop you!My fists were up and I threw three back, then followed with a cross that knocked him back. I tried to follow with an uppercut, but missed as the cross I just landed had saved him by moving him out of range.
Picking up the pace, the severity of the situation invaded Big E..
We exchanged blow for blow for what seemed like minutes, but was really only seconds.
Every time I was hit, I saw stars. I knew he did too. It was now a war of attrition. We were like two Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots waiting for the other’s head to fly off first.
Beginning to dominate the battle, I felt my pace gaining, giving me confidence.
Suddenly, Big E. hit me with a perfect uppercut that busted open my right cheek. Stumbling back against the wall, I felt blood pour from my face.
Big E. grabbed me in a headlock, which told me one of two things: he’s tired or tired of getting hit. Either one was fine with me.
I baited him into thinking he had the headlock tight. My instincts were screaming he was going to try and hip toss me. All street fighters do that with their headlocks, then pin you down and punch you out cold. He went for the hip toss. I knew I had him then. Tucking my chin down, I twisted my head out as he went for the toss.
Big E. ended up tossing himself on the floor as his body spun. As he hit the floor, I ran to pounce on him like a moutain line would a wounded deer. He was quick for a big guy and on his feet almost as fast as he fell.
I was faster though, and got on his back to get my “hooks in” – a technique where you wrap your legs over your opponent’s as you’re behind him, in order to initiate a rear choke.
Balancing me on his back, Big E. was strong. I couldn’t initiate the choke as he was hunched too far forward. So I grabbed his neck with my left hand and started attacking his temple from behind. He opened himself up enough to complete the choke. I went for it. It was over.
“OK. OK. OK,” Big E. gasped.
Gangster and JJ ran in.
“Alright, alright! That’s enough!” JJ said.
I let Big E. go.
Gangster had the cheesiest grin on his face.
I couldn’t help but smirk in return.
Big E. rose to his feet.
I was cautious not knowing if he would try to rush me unexpectedly.
Gangster and JJ stepped between us.
“Orale! Yaestufas! [That’s enough!]” Gangster said.
Holding his throat, Big E. hacked. He gave me a dirty look, then stormed out, back to his cell.
I’d noticed his left eye was bloodshot from a popped vessel. His upper lip was bloody, and he was bruised around his eye sockets.
Click here for Warrior v Big E. Part 4