Two Amateur MMA fighters from Lethbridge have the honour of representing Canada at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation World Amateur Championship in Las Vegas.
Colton Cronkite and Ben Fehr are among twelve amateur athletes that will be competing for Canada in July.
“It’s just the purest sport there is,” Cronkite said. “One-on-one competition with no interference.”
Both amateur fighters have been training and fighting for several years with the hopes of one day having a professional fighting career.
“They’re amateur fighters, but they’re right on the cusp of turning pro” said Lee Mein, their coach. “We’ve trained three guys, from amateur to pro, and pro into UFC…we have that background of creating champions.”
For the next four weeks, Cronkite and Fehr will dedicate long hours in the gym to prepare.
“Being a fighter at any level is a huge dedication,” Mein said. “They’re training six to seven days a week.”
Both athletes have full time jobs, but know that in order to make it to the professional level, they have to put in long hours and hard work.
“I’m in the gym at 3 a.m., doing my strength and conditioning. Then I go to work all day,” Cronkite said. “Then I come back again for two to three hours.”
When asked what the hardest part of preparing for a fight is, you may be surprised by the answer.
“The hardest part is the dieting,” Ben Fehr said.
Funding for amateur MMA athletes is not available, so the fighters and their coaches must cover the cost of entry fees, travel, hotel and food.
In order to compete, Cronkite and Fehr have to raise $2,500 each to cover their expenses, and they’re currently looking for corporate sponsors to help them achieve their goal of attending the World Championship.