Kitsap’s Professional Cage Fighters For Battle Royale At The Point Casino, August 30thAugust 27th, 2012 by Joshua Scott Beranis
Cage Warrior Combat Premieres at The Point Casino event center this Thursday, August 30th, at 8:00 p.m. Sponsoring the event is Poulsbo’s own Valholl Brewing. Finding professional fighters to fit the card didn’t take very long. Kitsap county now houses more than a handful of them with pride. 715 lbs of them will be competing on the card for Thursday. The competitors themselves, though still very fresh to the buisiness, already have a great deal of experience in the cage on the amateur level. Cage Warrior Combat is one of the earliest professional MMA venues to arrive in the Kitsap area.
Tad Bremer and Mingo Reyna have seized the oppuritunity to expose Kitsap to this new and exciting prospect. For the past three years, they have been running shows out of the Baymont Inn and Suites of Bremerton. Many of those shows have featured professional fighters on the card, but the cards have been catered primarily to the amatuers, no less important than professional fighters. There will still be ample oppuritunity for ”amies” (amatuer fighters) to appear locally at venues being held in the area, but the buisiness limitations are undeniable to Tad Bremer.
“There’s no reason why we can’t feature renowned professional fighters on a local card,” Bremer explains. “Especially at a venue as large as the event center at The Point Casino.”
The Point Casino’s event center holds comfortably up to eight hundred spectators, and is likely to attract a much higher number, considering the recent rise in the popularity of the sport of MMA. Shows like the Ultimate Fighter on FX, as well as featured UFC events on the same station have made Cage Fighting a household form of entertainment.
As far as “Going Pro” is concerned, there are mixed feelings and multitudes of snares for local amateurs making the leap.
“It’s very challenging in the Kitsap area to become a pro fighter,” says local pro Carl Edwards (1-1). It can be difficult finding quality training partners from time to time. At the end of the day its how hard you push with the resources you have.”
Carl Edwards has met with great success in the sport, meeting and even recently training with Forrest Griffin, Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion for the UFC. Carl will be fighting at the middle-weight level (185 lbs.)
The transition is not necessarily all difficult when it is the apparent “next step” as Carl had later described. A.J. (The Vanilla Gorilla) Webber explains, “I feel like nobody can touch my wrestling out here in the Northwest. Additionally, I’ve had Victor Solier to train with. He’s a five time world champion kickboxer. Having him there helps a lot. Its a pretty big deal.” Victor Solier provides training out of Roughouse MMA of Seabeck. There is a small selection of MMA Gyms in the Kitsap area no less notable, one of the most noteworthy being Full Circle Fight Club of Bremerton, of which the head trainors are James Bergstrom and Bobby Lawrence.
A.J. Webber will be fighting on Thursday at the Light Heavyweight level of 205 lbs, against Kip Ramos. A.J has been eyeing a rematch against Ramos ever since getting winded in a match against him last year.
“You should see A.J. a bit hungrier, and in much better physical shape this time,” explains Trainer Victor Solier of Roughouse MMA. “He will be more established with his stand-up game, and is training alongside Carl Edwards and others, which will give him some advantages Thursday.”
Dustin Praxedes, (155 lbs.) goes into length about some of the real difficulties of going pro: “Things are just building out here. Its a big booming business right now, but you need good people around you to help you achieve a professional status. That and you have to have the gonads.”
It isn’t all about gonads though. Praxedes is quick to explain, “You should be going in to win. If you think entering ringside is all it takes, then why isn’t just waking up in the morning good enough?”
Public support for local fighters is not entirely absent in the local Kitsap habitat, but there is obvious room for expansion. There are large numbers of amateurs taking the sport very seriously, and striving to overcome the obstacles which present themselves on the road to becoming a professional.
Also on the card for Thursday are a handful of amatuer fighters already well established at local venues. Steve Hoytt, training out of Roughouse MMA is making his Amateur Debut, the first step in fighting publicly altogether.
Brad Foust, also out of Roughouse, makes his professional debut at 170 lbs., the first step in making a career out of the sport.