Cung Le is the king of San Jose.
Saturday night, for the first time in his illustrious mixed martial arts career, Frank Shamrock was unable to fight.
Le`s vicious kicks broke Shamrock`s right arm. The physician in attendance stopped the fight at the end of the third round - at Shamrock`s request.
"I heard the bone snap," Le said.
Of his stunning victory, the Vietnamese emigre said: "I fought with my heart and I left everything in the cage for you, San Jose. This is a dream come true."
Le took Shamrock`s Strikeforce middleweight championship, and cemented himself as one of the best mixed martial arts fighters in the world. The fight, televised by Showtime, drew a crowd of 16,326 at HP Pavilion.
Le thanked Shamrock, also a San Jose resident, for giving him a championship fight, and told him, "You are a legend. You are the greatest fighter."
In a post-fight interview, Shamrock grimaced, clearly in pain.
"Cung Le broke my right arm," he said. "He`s a better man. He`s the champion."
The end came after a dramatic third round. Le dropped Shamrock with a kick. Shamrock bounced up quickly, but without the smile that filled his face throughout the first half of the fight. The action turned quickly, however, when Shamrock rocked Le with a series of punches. Le was dazed and Shamrock appeared to have the fight briefly in control. But he let Le gain his bearings - a mistake that would cost Shamrock.
The fighters took the first two rounds to feel each other out. The flamboyant Shamrock frequently mugged for the crowd and ducked two of Le`s wild roundhouse kick attempts.
Many in the audience waved yellow-and-red Vietnamese flags - a salute to Le, who was born in Saigon and fled for the United States days before the communist takeover. Others solidly backed the charismatic Shamrock, one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts.
Shamrock entered the ring looking like he belonged in World Wrestling Entertainment, swaggering to the ring in a San Jose Sharks jersey, and raising his middleweight championship belt in the air slowly, before tossing his jersey to the crowd. He drew thunderous ovations from his supporters, and rabid boos from the strong contingent of Le fans.
Besides Shamrock and Le, the other big star of the night was Kimbo Slice, the super heavyweight internet sensation whose popularity began with street fights that were captured on video.
One of the biggest knockouts of the night came in the first televised fight. "Smokin` Joe Villasenor" clubbed Ryan Jensen with a right hand to the chin, sending him crashing to the ground just before the bell rang. Jensen was taken to a local hospital after the fight because he was having trouble with his peripheral vision.