Undisputed (The Undisputed Series Book 1), page 1
Also by Aaron L Speer
Night Walker (Undeadly Secrets #1)
Day Dreamer (Undeadly Secrets #2)
Shadow Chaser (Undeadly Secrets #3)
Pack Master (Undeadly Secrets #4)
The Independents II
Eden Elements Publishing
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Text Copyright © 2018 Aaron L Speer
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Eden Elements Publishing Subsidiary Rights Department, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eden Elements Publishing paperback edition August 2018
EDEN ELEMENTS and colophon are trademarks of Eden Elements Publishing.
Published by Eden Elements Publishing
Editing by Kiri Roeseler
Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2018953500
ISBN: 978-0-692107-97-3 (paperback)
ASIN: B07FNTRBZT (eBook)
1) Fiction 2) Romance 3) Sports
First Edition: 2018
This is a brand-new genre for me, and while my only intent is to entertain readers the world over, I do have a few small but important notes:
First, to fans of MMA novels and fights, please take into account, before you start, the organisation and characters I have created in this series are not based on any actual MMA organisations or individuals. I have relied on artistic license and taken liberties to build my own version and move the story along.
Second, this book may contain grammar, punctuation, words and spellings not familiar to you. Keep in mind it is written by an Australian and set in Australia.
Now, the reason you’re here, I welcome all of you to the newest addition to the Speerverse, and I hope you get as much enjoyment out of reading it as I had in constructing it for you. And, as always, I welcome all feedback. Tell me how Undisputed makes you feel in a review and follow it up with an email or message to my Facebook Page (links at the end of the book). I love hearing from you!
All my love,
A huge thank you, especially, to Jo Lawless (my sounding board, my PA, my friend) along with Serena Worker and Lela Grayce. These amazing women form a team that help me and hold my hand every day, and I truly cannot thank them enough for all they do.
To my Speerverse Fanatics, my BETA Team, my Street Team, and my Review Team: I wouldn’t be here doing this if it wasn’t for your support. I love you.
To Valerie Roeseler of Eden Elements Publishing, thank you for seeing the potential in this story. It’s a privilege to work with you.
Aaron L Speer
Eden Elements Publishing
“Gasnier is arguably the best pound for pound striker in the world. He’s been clocked at having the fastest knockout at 4.1 seconds. His kick registers at over ninety miles per hour...”
Tegan Holland wore a small smile as her friend, Fiona, launched into the statistics their co-worker, Kylie, had mentioned. Well, ‘warned’ her about was more accurate. Both Tegan and Fiona strolled from the coffee shop they all worked at, across the road, to Sovereign Arena, joining hundreds and hundreds converging on the main gate.
Tegan was led to believe most, if not all, were here to see Owen Gasnier fight in the Cage as the main event of the night. Born in Sydney, yet living in America, this was Gasnier’s first hometown fight. Tegan was completely clueless about MMA. For the last three or so weeks of seeing the signs promoting the event, she could’ve sworn a band called Gasnier was playing at the arena.
“I can’t believe Kylie let her ticket go after winning them on the radio, just because of a fight with her boyfriend,” Tegan said. She could almost sense the eye roll and scowl on Fiona’s face.
“Teegs, save yourself some therapy and listen to Fifi. Don’t go there. These are worth over a grand each, and she chucks it in because her pasty dicked troll, otherwise known as the Fuhrer, or boyfriend, forgot he let her choke collar loose. If there’s one person I’d love to kick right in the dick, it’s him. But I kinda wanna bang some sense into her as well. He gets the shits because if his slave dares to start thinking for herself, maybe she’ll realise his flaccid, two-incher, on a good day, pickle, ain’t so whizz bang. They fight. They make up. They fuck. Rinse and repeat. I’ve tried and tried to tell her to ditch the he-bitch. But you can’t get through to some people. Anywho, I’m just glad you agreed to come. I know fighting isn’t your thing, but hey, ringside seats and free booze! Yay!”
Tegan went back to nodding along while Fiona continued rattling off Gasnier facts like bullets, one after the other, barely stopping to take a breath. “I had no idea you were so into this.”
“I’ve worn my Gasnier shirt heaps of times at work. You’ve just never noticed.”
“So, who’s he fighting?”
“Rudy Dominov, a technical fighter out of Russia. He won his last fight by submission. He’s got a great mat game.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well, if you believe the experts, if he gets Gasnier off his feet and gets on top of him, it’s all over.”
“What do you say?”
“Gasnier will kick nine colours of shit out of him. Fight won’t last a round.” Fiona replied matter-of-factly.
Tegan handed her ticket to the door girl, who let her pass. “Let’s hope he’s as confident as you. Holy shit.”
Tegan had just entered the main floor and spotted the incredible structure known as the Cage. The crowd was already filling almost all the seats, and the noise was deafening. Lights and lasers were going off in all directions, and the music thundered all around her. Tegan walked with Fiona, sliding past women posing for selfies and fight fans sporting Gasnier shirts having heated discussions with the official program between them. Tegan found her seat, with the help of an usher, just as the first bout began.
The night went on, and by the fifth bout, she had already downed one champagne glass for each match she had seen. She was so bored. She didn’t see what drew Fiona. All the fighters looked ridiculous during their entrances. All of them showboating, looking like wankers before they even entered the Cage. The matches weren’t any better. The majority leaned and pushed against the Cage, not actually fighting. Or rolled all over each other, making seconds last hours.
“Do they always cuddle on the ground so much?” Tegan shouted over the music, as yet another dull match ended.
Fiona laughed. “All of them. Except for my boy.”
“What do you mean?”
“You see how when a guy goes down, the other one starts hitting him as quick and hard as they can?”
“Yeah! I can’t believe they allow that!”
“It’s perfectly legal. It’s called ground and pound. They all do it, except for Gasnier. He lets them get back up. He was a huge controversial figure when he started. He got accused of taking bribes to fix matches. Then they said it was to cover his poor ground game. The whole lot. But he was clean. He just refuses to hit them when they’re on the ground.”
Tegan didn’t know the guy, but as her alcohol-fuelled brain absorbed that information, her respect for him went up a notch. In this crazy, testosterone-laced world, he appeared to have his own way
The lights flickered all around the stadium, and the projector screen activated above the Cage. It looked like a news report, no…an interview, was occurring. The caption said:
The camera showed just outside the arena, it was late afternoon, and a buff looking dude was stepping out of a limo. The caption changed to:
A chorus of boos rounded the crowd.
“Rudy! This is your first time in Sydney. What are your thoughts?”
“Is beautiful city.”
“What about Gasnier? Do you think you have a disadvantage being that he’s fighting in front of his home crowd for the first time?”
A huge cheer erupted after the question.
Tegan couldn’t help but feel goosebumps as the energy of the crowd rose. This was such a big deal to them. And, sure, she didn’t know what was going on, but the excitement was becoming contagious.
“No, no. Crowd means nothing. In Cage, is only two people. Me and him. I know crowd will not like me. They know Gasnier will fall to me. So, of course, they will not like me. But is my time and he’s in my way.”
That was where the video ended. Another chorus of boos, mixed with cheers, echoed around the crowd. Tegan looked around as a new swell of sound gripped the arena. “Oh, yes! I hoped they would do this!” Fiona squealed, wrapping her arm around Tegan’s shoulders. Something more and more people were doing, it must be some sort of tradition, the way football players did when their national anthem was played. It wasn’t the Australian national anthem that was being played though. A strange tune that Tegan almost recognised echoed through the speakers, but it was difficult to place given it was performed with bagpipes. “What’s going on?” Tegan asked loudly, looking at Fiona, who wore a look of excitement one could only compare to that of a kid on Christmas morning, as the crowd began to clap in a steady rhythm, in time with the music.
“It’s Loch Lomond!” Fiona squealed again. “When he first started making a name for himself, he was invited to be a guest at a Scotland soccer game after one of his fights. He was filmed singing their team song in the crowd. He was given a lot of heat for it by the British media, as he’s an Aussie, but he was doing this…” she said as she indicated with her hand to her arm across Tegan’s shoulders. “…and belting it out. He was mocked for it, but he said he didn’t care. He can still be Australian and love the song. Being born in a place doesn’t dictate your heart. He’ll sing what he wants when he wants. And ever since, at his fights, more and more people all over the world have been doing it to show support.”
Fiona paused, then began to sing along with the crowd. Tegan could tell, as the crowd rose as one, she had been waiting for this opportunity for some time.
“You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road. And I’ll be in Scotland before ye’. But me and my true love will never meet again…on the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond…”
It was repeated slowly and the crowd, Fiona included, began raising their fists and bouncing on their feet before calming to continue to sing it once more. This time with no music. Just clapping the beat. Slow but LOUD. Finally, the music returned, and the crowd belted the words with gusto. Once over, the crowd erupted, and Fiona joined a quick-fire chant. “Gaz nee ah! Gaz nee ah! Gaz nee ah!”
New music started from the speakers. New age rap or something, and the crowd descended into boos and curses. Screaming obscenities that would make a sailor blush. Fiona herself was gesturing with her middle finger at the fighter making his way from the back. As he came closer, flanked by what could be either his bodyguards or trainers, Tegan recognised Rudy Dominov. He crossed the threshold of the Cage as he danced and weaved his way around, striking his chest while looking out among the people. He was the bad guy to all these people, and he loved it.
The lights dimmed to nothing. The crowd knew what was coming and lost their collective mind but no one more than Fiona, who squealed with repeated repetitions of “Oh, my God... Oh, my God!”
It was here that Tegan rose to her feet, actually wanting to get a good look. No music pumped through the sound system, almost amplifying the chant that had started again, as a figure stepped out from the back and started to walk down to the Cage, only a single spotlight and thousands and thousands of phone flashes lighting his way. With a stride that was neither quick nor slow, he carried himself with a sense of purpose. Pride. Dignity.
Owen Gasnier was flanked by one person who just as calm in his movements as the fighter. As he crossed the threshold, there was no showboating. No dancing. No pumping up the crowd. Not that they needed it. The sight of Gasnier sent them into a frenzy but even more so when he removed his robe, revealing his fight shorts to be a mock-up of the Australian flag.
Fiona and most of the other women in the crowd let loose a few cheers of their own as he revealed his shirtless torso. All Tegan could see was his back from this angle. He wasn’t overdeveloped, but it was creased with muscles upon muscles. Hard. Unforgiving. Just like him, maybe?
The crowd quietened down as the introductions were made. It was made clear from the outset that the winner of the bout would earn the right to face the number one contender later this year. If they won that...a guaranteed shot at the champion, Ricky Chozen or Brent Diaz.
“What does that mean?” Tegan asked while clapping with the rest of the crowd. “Are those two fighting at some stage?”
“Yeah. Diaz was champion but was suspended pending a court case. Chozen won the belt while Diaz was away. Now, the court case is settled, Diaz is free and wants his belt back. That’s the next big fight later this year. Why they are letting him back in the ring is beyond me.”
“What did he do?”
“Killed a guy in his last fight.”
Fiona couldn’t reply even if she tried. Gasnier had been introduced to the crowd, and it erupted into the largest cheer yet. Then both fighters were getting their last-minute instructions from their corners. Dominov’s camp was much like the fighter; jumpy, frantic, bouncing around, hammering words with the gestures of their hands. Gasnier’s corner was calm. He barely moved. Only minimal nods of the head, acknowledging he heard his trainer. The trainer might as well have been describing the subtleties of an oil painting or reminding him they needed milk from the shop. Both sides of the Cage could not have been more different in mannerisms if they tried. The bout was seconds away.
“Fi... Killed? What are you—”
Fiona held her finger to her lips. “I’ll tell you in like...ninety seconds.”
The bell sounded, and the fight was on. Both fighters moved to the middle of the ring and touched hands. Dominov immediately put distance between himself and Gasnier, moving around on his toes, circling Gasnier with his fists up, protecting himself.
“He leads with the right. Watch it. Watch it!” Fiona hissed.
Dominov snapped a right jab at Gasnier’s head but only hit his forearm. Gasnier parried the strike with a sharpness that brought an almost unconscious smile to Tegan’s mouth. Dominov stumbled back two steps, a cut under his right eye stunning him. In the same motion as blocking Dominov’s strike, Gasnier had retaliated like a viper. He was that fast; Tegan hadn’t even seen him connect. Neither, it seemed, had Dominov.
“Yes!” Fiona screamed as Gasnier took a step forward. Measuring. Calculating. “Come on, baby.”
As if Gasnier heard her, he spun on the pad of his foot, sending a swift side kick directly into Dominov’s head. Tegan knew it was over before Dominov hit the mat. So did the crowd. Once down, he barely moved. The ref declared an end to the fight, but the resulting eruption from the crowd drowned out the ringing bell. The main event was the shortest fight of the night, but no one cared. This is what they all came to see, a hometown boy victory.
Tegan couldn’t help it; the joy was infectious. She clapped and cheered the result and hugged a delirious Fiona. As Dominov was attended to by his crew, Gasnier, final
A bunch of people gathered in the middle of the ring for the official announcement, but there was no surprise. Gasnier was presented with the Australian flag, which he placed over his shoulder like a prized championship belt. Tegan admired that he initiated the handshake which Dominov accepted, bringing him in for a short embrace.
The cameramen that had invaded the ring caught every moment. Soon, an interviewer stepped up next to Gasnier. The exchange was shown live across the various screens in the arena.
“Owen. Owen. Firstly, congratulations on the win. How does it feel? More importantly, how does it feel winning in Sydney?”
Gasnier grinned slightly at a new cheer. “Mate, it feels fantastic! I wanted to do you guys proud. Hope you enjoyed coming out. Sorry it didn’t last longer.”
Gasnier gave another grin as the crowd chanted, “We. Don’t. Care.”
The interviewer waited for the noise to die before continuing. “Owen, you are now two victories away from being, not only the first Australian Undisputed Heavyweight Champion, but potentially the first undefeated fighter to win the title where every single victory has been via knockout. Has this put any extra pressure on you?”
Gasnier shook his head. “It makes me work harder. This title is all I’ve ever wanted. Whether I get it next week or next year, I’ll bring that title back here.”
Tegan joined the clapping as the interview ended and the ring cleared quickly. She stretched her back and prepared to leave with the rest of the crowd, but a security guard had wandered over to their section of floor seats. “Excuse me,” he said, addressing Fiona. “Can I see your pass, please?”
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