A historical night for MMA in Saskatchewan
Fight fans in Saskatoon were part of history last night as the city held its first amateur mixed martial arts event.
Dave Mah, owner of instructor at Way of the Dragon Martial Arts and head of Honor Fights Promotions, hosted a full night of combat sports at the Prairieland Park Complex in Saskatoon. Everything from boxing, Muay Tai and MMA, 36 fighters featuring a dozen local fighters from Saskatoon stepped into the squared-circle for the first time in their careers.
“We’ve needed something like this for a long time. The city is growing and is open to combat sports and I wanted to cover all the combat sports and generate more interest,” Mah said. “My goal is to provide the best venue for the fighters to begin their amateur careers.”
Twenty-five-year-old Nathan Henry, fighting out of Saskatoon representing Diekema Taekwondo, could hardly hold back his excitement before his bought with Tyler Ricard, a.k.a. the Panda fighting for Way of the Dragon.
“How do you not get excited, it’s fighting, it’s what I love to do,” Henry said. “It’s an honor fighting in the Honor Fights.”
Hearing his name announced over the P.A., stepping into the ring and hearing the starting bell, for Henry it was like being born again.
“It’s a really good feeling and even though I didn’t win, losing is a part of winning,” Henry said. “Everyone has to lose... I know what it feels like to lose so my next fight I’ll know what it will feel like to win.”
Ricard, also from Saskatoon entered the ring wearing a Panda head. He said the Panda persona was his way of remembering an old friend.
“When I was young I had a close friend, who has since passed away, tell me to be like a panda,” said Ricard, who has over 400 wins from his wrestling career. “(Pandas) are a strong member of the bear family, but they are still gentle and cute… I am a panda at heart, strong and gentle.”
For Mah, hosting this inaugural event is a big step in the right direction as he hopes to see a professional fight commission for Saskatchewan in the future. As for the amateur fight nights, Mah said the city can expect more shows as he plans for the next event in March.
“Win or lose, it’s an unbelievable feeling for these guys and I know a couple of my students lost tonight, but they’re happy they did it.”
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