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No Holds Barred

Almost Anything Is Legal in Draka Fights

September 04, 1997

Anything--well, almost anything--goes in Draka, a Russian-born version of hand-to-hand combat that blends boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and various forms of martial arts.

American fight fans will get their first glimpse of the peculiar competition at the World Championship of Professional Draka Fights on Saturday night at the Forum.

"It's right along the lines of everything I've been doing," said Jim Mullen, 28, of Simi Valley, a former heavyweight boxer and world-champion kickboxer who will make his Draka debut.

"I'm a bodyguard and I teach self-defense, so I have to be ready for anything," Mullen said. "I'd like to be a complete self-defense person--to [be able to] punch, kick, wrestle, grapple, throw and not be thrown."

Draka rules permit punching, kicking, shoving, taking down and flipping an opponent during two-minute rounds. Choke holds and hitting below the belt are prohibited.

"And you can't bite the guy," said Danny Steele of Reseda.

Steele, 27, a five-time champion kickboxer, will compete in a 10-round super-lightweight match.

Steele and Mullen have embraced the fledgling sport with hopes that it will catch on in the United States and become a prosperous profession for both.

"God gave me all these weapons and I like to use them all," Steele said. "But it's a new system for me, so it will be a challenge. I did wrestle in school and I've done judo. It's the best of both worlds and I'm all for it."

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