TULSA — One guy got slammed so hard he immediately went into seizures and had to be taken to the hospital. That’s the nature of the game in Freestyle Cage Fighting, a hot sport on the rise, and one that’s growing in popularity in Tulsa.

“This is the s___”, said Wilbur Wright, 17, of Muskogee, who sat cageside at the Cain’s Ballroom on Aug. 19. “These guys are tough as hell.”

The crowd rose to its feet each time the phrase “Let’s get it on” rumbled through the testosterone-laden air. Through 11 fights, pretty much every move you could imagine was thrown inside the hurricane-fence cage.

“You never know what will happen when a fighter steps into that cage,” said Henry Ellick, one of the event’s judges. “I expect injuries and accidents, it’s part of the game.”

The excitement of the sport isn’t just in the cage — the audience can’t help but be sucked in by the action.

“I have wrestled all my life,” said Muskogee’s Matt Johnson, 17. “I would love to get in that cage and whoop some ass.”

Maybe, but that trip isn’t for the faint of heart, Ellick said.

“I’ve been judging sporting events like this for over 20 years and this particular sport Freestyle Cage Fighting is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said.

“This is not a sport for the ‘suits.’ This sport is for the real working man, and as you can see we are surrounded by them.”

The sport’s popularity may be based on the fact that it’s about as raw as you can get and still be legal — people get thrown around, slammed to the ground, head-butted, kicked and punched.

“I am a street fighter, my first official match was March 10th of this year,” said Daniel Sullivan, 24, of Bristow. “If you get in the cage with me you are getting knocked the hell out.”

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