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Nov 24, 2015

Mixed Martial Arts Frenzy in Belize!

Mixed Martial Arts, better known as MMA, is readily becoming a popular sport in the world. It is a full-contact combat discipline that allows the use of both striking and grappling skills; literally and practically, it pulls the best techniques from several other sports such as boxing, wrestling and the different types of martial arts which evolve into MMA. It is also growing leaps and bounds locally and over the weekend, Belize faced off with Mexican athletes. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

For some time now, Belizean athletes have been venturing into the genre of Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, with several MMA competitions hosted in which fights are staged between athletes from Belize and Mexico. On Saturday night, Mixed Martial Arts fights were set at the Biltmore Plaza.

 

Mark Neal

Mark Neal, Owner, Body 2000 Fitness & Wellness Center

“MMA is something that we want to build in Belize and something that we also want to do regularly with the coaches that work out here at Body 2000. The whole idea behind it, I got it from the coach and they are also interested in using inner-city kids from behind Jane Usher area; that’s where the church is located.”

 

A total of six fights were held —five featuring athletes from the local Prevail MMA Club versus those from the PriMMAtes in Chetumal, Quintana Roo and one between Richard Rubio of Prevail MMA Club and Frank Vasquez of Southern Shotokan Academy in Dangriga. Coach Joel Meyer explains the preparation leading up to the fight.

 

Joel Meyer

Joel Meyer, Coach, Prevail MMA Club

“We train year round. We train three or four times a week, but especially coming up into the fight camp—six to eight weeks before the fight—we really step it up. The guys really put a lot of work in; a lot of cardio on their own, we get up there and have some pretty intense workouts. Guys lose about five to six pounds in weight. We brought in different guys who have different skill sets; I, myself, was a wrestler so I help with the takedowns and the ground work. We had some jujitsu guys, some boxers, some guys who can help us with karate or Muay Thai or whatever the case may be. So we try to make sure the guys have as well-rounded of skill sets as possible.”

 

Primarily a men’s sport, the mixed style competition can be rather dangerous if rules are not in place. There was the knockout of Mexican; Miguel Alonzo in the first seconds of a fight with Slavic Volkov of Prevail. The fight, however, was struck out because the TKO was by an accidental knee to the head, which in the amateur bouts is considered illegal strikes. But two other Belizean athletes emerged as winners in their respective fights. Fourteen year old Elias Meyer started out in the sport at the age of ten. Leaving his nervousness outside the ring, he managed to take down his opponent in no time.

 

Elias Meyer, Winner, MMA Amateur Fight

“My strategy was just to take him down to the ground and get a submission.”

 

Elias Meyer

Duane Moody
“Any fears going into that competition known that you didn’t know much about you were competing against?”

 

Elias Meyer

“Yeah. The night before I was nervous and everything; I was scared. But when that bell rang, I forget everything. The only thing I remembered was keeping my hands up.”

 

Meanwhile, twenty-four year old Kristian Usher also won his fight against PriMMAtes’ Arturo Miguel. Usher has been practicing the sport for the last two years and is considered a beast in the ring.

 

Kristian Usher

Kristian Usher, Winner, MMA Amateur Fight

“Going into the fight was nice; it was just the preparation before the fight. I walk around with about one hundred and fifty-nine pounds and I had to drop to one hundred and forty-five pounds. So you are talking about one meal a day for an entire week and then the Thursday before, no food, no drink, just dehydrate and I had to make the weight. After you make the weight then you could bulk up. So it was just a month of intense training; tired, exhausting and just had to train hard to the best of my knowledge to get a win. My strength is ground and pound; that’s when you take your opponent and go on the ground and just beat the crap out of your opponent and based on training, I saw that my strength was just ground; so as I got in the ring, I tried to focus most of my fight on the ground.”

 

So how did team Belize fare off in the sixth such event of its kind in the country?

 

Joel Meyer

“We had one decision that we were kinda upset with. One of our guys got disqualified for an illegal strike and knocked the other guy out, so we are disappointed in that. And then we had two guys that did lose and two guys that utterly destroyed. So overall, we did a good job. Our guys really performed well; their skill sets are really coming together.”

 

Each winning athlete received two hundred and fifty dollars cash. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

The group is having yet another MMA event on Boxing Day, December twenty-sixth, here in Belize City. Training occurs on Tuesday Thursday at seven p.m. at Body 2000.

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