BEST FIGHTS NOBODY EVER SAW #1 by simguy (with Neve Campbell)

“It's quite possible that the best fighting ever produced between two working actresses occurred during a 16 month stretch (2001-2002) between Ona Grauer and Brandy Ledford. Fighting in and around the Vancouver area, on yachts as well as secluded beaches and ocean-view penthouses, two 5'6", 120# hellcats set a standard for savagery and expertise that may never be excelled. Although the location didn't help their exposure.

"Even though Brandy had Baywatch and Playboy pedigree, fighting in Canada hurt her profile," recalls successful Canuck émigré, Neve Campbell. "Vancouver's a beautiful city; with knowledgeable, sophisticated fans, but there's no coverage for the girls. You fight literally for a couple of dozen heavy hitters - fewer if you're on a yacht. I never got too deep into the Vancouver scene as a result."

But oh, the fighting! "When Ona caught Brandy in a sliding balcony door - slamming it in between Ledford's breasts and trapping her there? I knew I was watching history in the making," says one eye-witness who asked Celebrity Ring to preserve his/her identity. "Those girls tore at each other - TORE. I never saw that kind of wild-eyed abandon before or since."

As vicious as the fighting was, both girls displayed gritty determination and hard-bitten professional sensibilities in attempting to grind one another down. "In one apartment match, I saw Ona put Brandy down with a drop kick," says our anonymous source. "Amazing. And with those compact, yet full bodies, everything seemed a-jiggle as they pushed each other to their backs and strained for position. But tight, you know? They were firm - but sensuous - a perfect fighting balance."

So who was better? Again, we went to Neve Campbell for answers, as her own contests against these two are the stuff of Canadian fire-side lore.

"I didn't see the fights, although I gather that Ona came back after losing the first couple to dominate Brandy over the long haul. And I don't doubt they were classics; you couldn't get better chemistry between two fighters.

* * *

“Ona was more athletic, but Brandy was smarter and knew her limits to an eyelash. Ledford didn't make mistakes and paced herself well: Ona could get herself into weird positions going for circus moves, and she took unnecessary punishment for that. Punching, I'd say they were about equal - even though Brandy was a much more accomplished boxer; bare-knuckle? In apartment? Ona was her match.

* * *

“Kicking, definitely Ona. Ona Grauer had some of the hardest kicks to the leg or body that I've ever experienced - as bad as Holly Valance in that respect. She apparently kicked the legs out from under Brandy in their later fights, and Ledford never really had an answer, other than trying for take downs.

* * *

“On a bed or the carpet, Ledford was smarter and could submit or restrain from on top or bottom - and she could actually win fights with breast smothers. Ona wasn't as knowledgeable back then, but she was strong - maybe even as strong as me: I know Ledford had trouble grappling with Ona because of that.

* * *

“As for killer instinct and aggression; forget it. These two are in a class by themselves. They were as hardhearted as any girl I've faced in Hollywood. I've had Ona get me in a bearhug from behind, and turning into that thing was one of the hardest physical challenges of my life, she was so tenacious. And I remember once taking a fight with Brandy when I was coming off the flu...and that was a definite mistake. You wanted to be at 100%, fighting those girls 5 years ago or so. Ledford beat me without mercy, and then smothered me out, just because she could."

What we know of the contests is that once Ona closed the skill gap - a process that took two encounters with the older and more experienced Ledford. The fights became a grim series of checkmates for Brandy. Unable to cope with Ona's kicking and ballistic power standing up, Ledford would seek takedowns, only to be denied by Grauer's increasingly able sprawls. This left Brandy with only the option of going to her back and luring Ona on top - a gamble which put Ledford in the hole almost every fight. Eventually, as each fight would wear on - Grauer began to force Brandy to her back and keep her there; the Ledford reversals growing more infrequent as minutes passed. When Brandy could no longer sweep-reverse Grauer, the fights would grind on to their inevitable conclusions, with a writhing Brandy Ledford slowly being extinguished under a relentless Ona Grauer.

We know that in addition to all manner of scissors, armbars, triangles and chokes, the girls utilized holding-and-hitting; full nelsons; breast and hand smothers; clotheslines; camel clutches and other back-bends; half nelsons, headlocks and bearhugs. We know that on at least one occasion Ona Grauer hit on a dropkick, and even managed several body slams on Brandy throughout the course of their rivalry. in addition to punching, the girls would employ slap-outs from full mounts, and Brandy effectively kneed Ona in the thighs and tummy standing up in a clinch. Their fights tended to be wide-ranging - moving from living rooms to kitchens, and even outdoors on one occasion.

But more than the technical virtuosity displayed, it was the peculiar quality of the competition - the electricity that seemed to course through each woman when the other was in the room - that set this fighting apart. Eyewitness accounts are almost reverential in tone, describing the cold-blooded aggression in vague, force-of-nature, terms. Chemistry is everything in female fighting and it’s one of the real tragedies of celebrity combat that we have no visual record of this obscure, but mythic, competition.