MASSENA - Approximately 700 fight fans gathered Saturday at St. Lawrence Centre for the first amateur MMA bouts hosted by the mall, an event that was highlighted by a local fighter from Akwesasne successfully defending his lightweight title.
St. Lawrence Centre General Manager David P. Viola said he was pleased with the event.
In the two-and-a-half years Ive been here, it was probably the best event weve had, Mr. Viola said. It was well attended, it was high energy and it was something that really caught the attention of our community.
Arena Manager Erich M. Ober agreed, It was a great event. We are very happy.
Mr. Ober also said that the events promoter, Chad Beatty, of Kaged Kombat, an MMA organization based in Saratoga Springs, was also pleased, noting theyre planning on coming back to Massena for another show this fall.
Were looking at them coming back in September or October, Mr. Ober said, adding hes expecting an even bigger crowd for the organizations return visit.
I think once word gets out that theyre coming back, well be expecting an even larger crowd, he said.
Given the success of UCF and other MMA organizations, Mr. Viola and Mr. Ober said theyre not surprised by the attendance at Saturdays event.
MMA is an up and coming sport, Mr. Viola said. It is before the legislature right now to become a sanctioned sport in New York state.
Amateur MMA is in itself an exciting sport, Mr. Ober said. Its one of those things that hasnt been to our area before and with the lack of events in our area, I think people were excited to have something new.
Mr. Ober also said the presence of a local fighter, Brett Hart of Akwesasne, who owns D&B Combat Sport with his brother Derek, helped bring people in.
The card included nine bouts with Mr. Hart defeating Bruce Richards by TKO in the fourth round of the evenings main event. Fans were also treated to fights that ended in knockouts, chokeouts and a forfeit. One of the fights also went the distance with the winner determined by the judges scorecards.
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