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A Fond Farewell...

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As we told everyone on Lights Out Radio on Friday afternoon, this is the end for MMAForReal.com. Kelvin already said it all in his post, but I want to thank him for the chance to bring my radio show to this web site and for the chance to write and report here which ultimately has led me to my new opportunity with Bloody Elbow, something I'm very excited about. I want to thank Kelvin for trusting me enough to turn his baby over to me at the end of June.

I want to thank Kelvin, Charles Walker, Rich Wyatt, Anthony Pace and Erich Vowell for their hard work during the past few months and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my radio show colleagues Neil Wagner and Forrest Lynn for their contributions and for the countless hours of entertainment they helped provide everyone. I want to thank all of our loyal readers and listeners for your comments and positive response to our products.

Going forward, you can find me at Bloody Elbow writing and hosting the brand new Bloody Elbow Radio with Forrest Lynn and Jonathan Snowden. This has been a fun ride, one I've been apart of for 20 months now (which is tough to believe). It's sad to see it go, but it's on to bigger and better things, hopefully.

Finally, I want to take the time to thank Neil for his contributions to the radio show. Neil has been my right hand man since I started Lights Out Radio in August 2007 and was instrumental in helping broker the deal between myself and Kelvin. Many of Neil's greatest contributions weren't on the air, but behind the scenes. I look forward to continuing to partner with Neil and his skills behind the scenes on Bloody Elbow Radio. I want to thank him for behind so understanding when I had to make a difficult decision regarding the show. It's been a great time and this is a sad day for me because this is the end of an era. How many MMA podcasts at our level have last this long? I bet not many. That's a testament to our hard work and what you helped put into it. We'll light it up one more time tonight for our UFC 126 review. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Neil.

Thank you everybody.

I've received goodbyes from Charles Walker, Rich Wyatt and Neil Wagner which you can read after the jump.

Charles Walker:

I would just like to thank Kelvin Hunt and Matt Bishop for running a great mixed martial arts site and doing so with such a passion. I know for a fact I am not a writer at all but I do appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and insane opinions from time to time. I also want to give a big thanks to all those that stopped by on a regular basis because really those were the people the site was for and I hope you guys stick around the SBNation. Also, to Rich Wyatt (who I want a rematch in Undisputed with) and Anthony Pace for helping out on a daily basis and giving some different sides and views to all the goings on in MMA. Can't forget the Lights Out Radio crew, Forrest Lynn and Neil Wagner, thanks guys for your insight and jokes and let me know where and how I can keep up with the LOR show. So with that, it's been a great run here at MMA 4 Real and I'm sure we'll continue to enjoy MMA wherever we may get our news and opinions from.

Rich Wyatt:

A couple of years ago I stumbled across MMA For Real. As a longtime MMA fan, I was ecstatic to see MMA legalized here in the Carolinas. This meant that folks around here could regularly enjoy the experience of watching fights live and in person. In my opinion, television doesn't do justice to MMA and boxing. There is an unmistakable electricity that exists when watching them in person, and whether that is in a gymnasium, night club or on top of a building (all spots where fights around here routinely take place), I'm glad the fans of MMA in this area are able to experience it. And so, what drew me to this site was the coverage of the local scene. Writing from a fan's perspective for this site was a blast. Another thing I always appreciated about this site is that it was a cool place to discuss the sport. Fans here were knowledgeable and fun to converse with. So I say thanks to each of you, the guys at LOR, Anthony, Erich, Charles and Kelvin. God bless!

Neil Wagner:

In the summer of 2007 I was propositioned to do a podcast, in which I would take part in a third of the program (it was two-thirds pro-wrestling, after all) as an "MMA insider". At the time, I figured it would end up as something to kill time until we got bored of it, but little did I know that it would take us well over three years, almost three hundred episodes, tens and tens of thousands (that we can substantiate, not including what I believe was approximately one bajillion hits on LightsOutRadio.com) of plays, and a quick shift in format to pure MMA talk. During that time, I chanced on the comments of a guy on FiveOuncesofPain.com (back in the Caplan era) who linked over to MMA4Real.net, which became a regular destination of mine. Eventually Kelvin (aka the man in charge) moved the .net over to SBNation's collection of sites, and he convinced me to sign up to start commenting, instead of just emailing him directly. Between the .net and the rise of the .com I also convinced Kelvin to come on to the show (and was successful far fewer times than I asked him to come on, by the way), and the bond between MMA For Real and Lights Out Radio was formed.

With time, the show became more integrated into the site, and Matt picked up the pen (digitally, of course) to add in some written content, eventually taking over primary writing duties, leaving us where we are today. Even though SBNation's "streamlining" of MMA content makes perfect business sense, it would be disingenuous of me to say I'm not remarkably bummed that the "small time" site I've been a part of since before it's current incarnation (.net 4 life, by the way) is going to go unattended, with its audience scattering to the winds. On the bright side, the tyrannical rule of RobertDowneySr is coming to an end. I'll never forget MMA For Real, if not for the ill-fitting Kimurawear T-shirt I won from an old pick'em contest, for the great community that accompanied it (and also, explaining to Wolfman how he is wrong about everything ever). However, I can say unequivocally that I'm excited for Matt's opportunity to write for a mainstream site, and maybe even inject a little bit of proper grammar and punctuation into it. Articles with journalistic integrity that aren't troll jobs on the audience at large? Big things are coming at BloodyElbow.com people, big things indeed.

Oh, even though Wagner@LightsOutRadio.com may not work anymore, you might just see a familiar face (or lack thereof) at twitter.com/DA_NeilW. Thanks to everyone who has listened to the show, and everyone who has in some way contributed; it's been one hell of a ride!