Gan McGee. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
TAMPA, FL - Utilizing his 13-inch height advantage and clubbing fists, six-foot, ten-inch heavyweight Gan “The Giant” McGee successfully launched his MMA comeback Saturday night in Tampa, Florida at the St. Pete Times Forum, stopping veteran fighter Johnathan Ivey by technical knockout in the second round at Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)‘s “Salute to Our Armed Forces 5.”
Over 11,200 fans were in attendance, topping XFC’s June 28 attendance mark of 10,700. This was the fourth consecutive XFC promotion in Tampa to draw at least 10,000 fans.
“It feels great to be back,” McGee stated in a post-fight interview. “I love fighting. I [expletive] love it! Really short guys are really hard to hit, but I did what I had to do. ‘The Giant’ is back!”
When McGee last fought on American soil, he was fighting on Pay-Per-View for the UFC heavyweight title against then-champion Tim Sylvia at UFC 44. The bout was one of the most controversial fights in MMA history: Sylvia won, but tested positive for steroids in a post-fight drug test.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined and suspended Sylvia, who was immediately stripped of his world title – but UFC decided to count Sylvia’s victory in its official record books anyway, effectively pushing McGee out of the heavyweight title picture.
McGee left UFC to fight twice for PRIDE in Japan before retiring from the sport four years ago. “The Giant” hopes his comeback bid will culminate with the MMA heavyweight championship finally wrapped around his waist.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for McGee; the five-foot, nine-inch Johnathan Ivey is a veteran of over 60 professional MMA fights, and he sought to neutralize McGee’s vast reach advantage by circling his much-larger opponent and shooting for his legs. Ivey’s tactics frustrated “The Giant” in the first round, but after a barrage of smashing headshots, the referee stopped the fight at 59 seconds into round number two.
“I didn’t think it would be that hard to get by his reach,” a dejected Ivey admitted afterwards. “I did my best, but he’s clearly an A-level fighter. His reach was just too much. But I’ll be back in the cage – and hopefully next time, my opponent will be closer to six-feet tall.”
Ivey expressed interest in fighting five-foot, 11-inch Dave “Pay Me” Yost – the undefeated heavyweight sensation from Tampa, Florida who won his fourth straight fight by knockout in a back-and-forth thriller against Billy Colon. Yost’s “Pay Me” moniker is a reference to his previous work as a mafia debt collector.
One of the celebrities in attendance, former super middleweight world champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy shook his head in amazement at Yost’s victory. “Incredible action! Those XFC guys are real warriors. What a fight!” said Lacey, who’ll be fighting ex-middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor on HBO in November.
Full results of Xtreme Fighting Championships’ “Salute to Our Armed Forces 5: The Return of the Giant”:
Brandon Palant defeated Justin Goodall by TKO, 3:36 in round one
Justin Flood defeated Brandon Watts by TKO, 1:36 in round one
Frank Sharipov defeated Shah “Hollywood” Bobonis, unanimous decision
Tony Harvey defeated Josh Cate by TKO, 27 seconds in round one
Robert Turner defeated John Holliman by TKO, 1:05 in round one
Corey Krebs defeated Jermain Wilson by TKO, 16 seconds in round one
Donny Wallace defeated Richard Boyd by tapout, 1:22 in round one
Dave “Pay Me” Yost defeated Billy Colon by TKO, 2:55 in round two
Gan “The Giant” McGee defeated Johnathan Ivey by TKO, 59 seconds in round two