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What are the pike fights?

The fights are an annual boxing exhibition comprised of matches pitting men from the seven member fraternities of the UTM Interfraternity Council against one another.  The matches consist of three one-minute rounds of boxing that are decided by a panel of judges based on number of connecting blows or (perhaps more excitingly) via knockout. While the excitement and intensity of the matches are certainly some of their most fun and drawing qualities, the benefactor of their profits, the Weakley County Reading Railroad, is what continues to make them a highly-respected part of Martin social life.

In addition to all the philanthropic benefits of the event, it also promotes a healthy sense of fraternal unity among chapters on campus, uniting them toward a common goal in helping their local community on a truly important matter.


Official pike fight history

The first fight was held the Spring of 1990. Scott McDonald had seen a similar event the year before at MTSU. A search committee went to MTSU to observe and see how it was put on. Patrick Albonetti became the coordinator, and did most of the ground work in the first year, helped by many others. Patrick met with David Belote, who served as student life coordinator. Mr. Belote was in favor of the idea, but the University had reservations about the liability of such an event. Eventually the University approved the event with conditions: Must have a liability policy, an ambulance crew standing by, a doctor to over see the event, and a licensed boxing referee.
The liability policy requirement in the beginning was difficult, and nearly caused cancellation of the first fight event. Two hours prior to the start of the event, the policy was acquired. The University also insisted the fighers be match in weight class. An occasional “grudge” match was allowed as long as both fighters agreed. Mr. Chris Edlin of Carroll County served as the first boxing referee, largely because of his experience with golden gloves boxing. He continues to serve in that capacity today. Mr. Larry Logan, and Mr. Dennis Coleman, both of Carroll County served as boxing judges, along with Van Ramsey. They served in this position for many years. Dr. David Long served as the first fight doctor. In later years, Dr. Robin Algee also served in this capacity.
For the first 4-5 years, the money raised was donated to the UTM infant stimulation unit. During years 6-8 several other charities benefited from the money, and then Dolly Parton’s Reading Railroad became the benefactor, through the mid-2010’s. Approximately 6 years ago, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital became the events benefactor.
In the past 31 years, more than $200,000 has been donated to charity. The event’s name was changed to the Craig Long Memorial Pike Fights in 2007, when Craig suffered a fatal heart attack. Craig boxed in the event in the first years, and became an organizer of the event

Other pike fight facts

In year one, Pike contacted Michael Buffer, to be the ring announcer. His fee of $5000, however, was more than the budget for the entire event, and the idea wasn’t pursued.

In the beginning, the ring was rented from an old wrestler in Memphis named Buddy Wayne.

In the first year event, carpet was placed under the mat, because that was what they did for wrestling, but the boxers didn’t like it. They said it was like running in quicksand.

The tickets the first year were $3 for men, and $2 for women.

The first year main event featured a 316lb fighter vs a 250lb fighter. After 2 rounds they were so worn out the mutually decided not to throw a punch.

The original trophy, which stayed with the winning fraternity for the year, apparently was destroyed in a fire at the ATO house a few years later.  


Craig Allen Long, 36, of Salinas passed away on Saturday, February 10, 2007. He was born March 24, 1970 in Iowa. His life revolved around his family. He idolized his daughter Ava and dedicated his life to love, protect and guide her through life. He could not wait to meet his new daughter to be born in June, 2007.

Craig grew up in Laurens, Iowa. He was always joking around with his friends and family, making people laugh wherever he went. He had a passion for wrestling, as showed by his love for WWF and demonstrated by his accomplishments as a wrestler in high school. Craig graduated from University of Tennessee Martin in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and served as SMC and Pledge Master at Epsilon Sigma. Craig put his business skills to work right away with his brother, Dave by owning and running a business together in Tennessee.

Craig moved to California in 1997 and began his dream job with the Oakland Raiders. He worked as the Assistant Public Director of the Oakland Raiders from 1997 – 2004. Showing his true personality, Craig was one of the first hosts for the Oakland Raiders daily webcast show “On The Edge” and also hosted special segments on the TV show “Behind the Shield.”

Craig always touched lives wherever he went, and the Raiders were no different. Family being very important, Craig moved to Salinas with his wife, Allison and daughter, Ava in 2004 to begin a new career and venture into business. He was currently working at the National Sales Account Manager for Premium Fresh Farms in Salinas, CA. Craig lived and breathed the Oklahoma Sooners. In his free time, he enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson and playing Sony Playstation online.

He enjoyed working with is dad, Daryl on real estate investments. Daryl and Craig were very close. He lived every day to the fullest, always giving himself to his family, friends and co-workers. Craig had an amazing sense of humor and had the ability to make anyone feel liked, loved and special. Most of all, Craig cherished the time he spent with his family and friends.