By Sgt. Matthew C. CooleyOctober 1, 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY- "The Mighty Monarch" locked his arms around his opponent, forcing him against the cage while repeatedly smashing his knee into the large man's head and body.
After several well-placed blows, the battered fighter sank to the mat and succumbed to the continual pounding of a crushing right hand.
Spc. Darrill "The Mighty Monarch" Schoonover, a 4th Battlion 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Air Missile Defense Patriot missile specialist and El Paso, TX native, defeated Mark Holata of Oklahoma City by technical knock out in the first round for the Freestyle Cage Fighting professional Heavyweight championship, Sept. 21, 2008.
The win earned Schoonover his third mixed martial arts championship belt along with a professional Light-Heavyweight title belt from the Xtreme Fight Championship and an amateur Light-Heavyweight title belt from Texas Amateur Mixed Martial Arts.
"[If] people keep offering me title fights, I'll keep winning them," a confident Schoonover said.
With an amateur record of 12-0, and a professional record of 7-0, one might say that Schoonover has good reason for his confidence.
"Something in my head tells me that I can't loose ... I think I'm a little off."
Schoonover started fighting at age 17 when his uncle took him to Dragon's Den Mixed Martial Arts in Los Cruz, N.M. Within the first week of training, he fought his first cage match.
In 2004, Schoonover joined the Army and was stationed in Germany where he continued to fight in the U.S any time he took leave. Two years ago, he was moved to Fort Hood, TX, where he began training with Fighters Forge Combat Sports in Copperas Cove, TX.
"Fighters Forge ... is really the school that developed me in everything," Schoonover explained.
"I found that it developed my ground game immensely and my striking is now off the chain."
Although he has won many fights, Schoonover doesn't have the fighter's image some people might expect. One of his teammates, amateur fighter Odel Pantin, quipped that Schoonover looks more capable of winning a spelling bee than an MMA title belt.
Schoonover said he believes that fighting is supposed to be fun and was laughing and joking with his teammates before the fight.
"His role models are Oprah Winfree, Prince, and Chuck Norris," the fight's announcer declared as Schoonover made his way into the ring, reading background information jokingly provided by Schoonover.
Even his nickname, "Mighty Monarch," comes from one of his favorite cartoon characters.
"Darrill is a really laid back guy," said Kenny Hardcastle, an amateur fighter on the Fighters Forge team.
Despite his "laid back" personality, Schoonover said he loves to fight.
"I love getting in the cage, I love hearing people scream, I love hearing people cheer, I love hearing people boo, I don't care. I just love it," he said passionately. "I like seeing the guy lying there afterwards."
Schoonover said he plans to try out for the reality TV show "Ultimate Fighter" in October.
"I want to fight in the UFC and hold the belt. I think that's every fighter's goal to ... fight in those upper levels and hold that big golden belt," Schoonover explained.
"[My] ultimate ambition' To be the best in the world."