Takedowns, punches, kicks and submissions are the key to leaving the cage with a victory, and Unity MMA’s fighters are hungry for a championship in the first event in Vernon in 10 years.
“I think we will finally be able to show people we are not brutes but that these people are actually artists,” said Raja Kler, coach at Unity MMA.
“It’s like a dance, but it’s a dance between two people that don’t know what the other person is going to try to do. They are trying to trick somebody and confuse them, but it really is about showcasing your skills and developing your mind.”
The event comes a decade after a city bylaw banned mixed martial arts fights, a ban that was lifted this summer. The fighters are now ready to show their home town what they have been training for.
“Hopefully we can have more competitions in the future after this one, as well,” said Kenny Pope, MMA fighter.
“Now my friends and family can come watch, which is great for me and I can show them that, too.”
Striving to leave the cage with a belt, Pope got into fighting after highschool in 2014.
“For me, I just wanted to be more in control of myself and to defend myself from bullies and stuff like that,” Pope said. “I wanted to be able to feel safe wherever I go by myself.
For the fighters stepping into the cage, it’s just a small part of what they do.
“It takes a bit of discipline because you come in, sometimes you’ve got injuries, sometimes you are just super sore and you don’t want to do it, but you just need to get your butt to the gym and keep training,” said Damon Marlow, MMA Fighter.
XFC Unbanned, a 20-fight event, will take place Aug. 24 at the Vernon Curling Rink.
WATCH: (July 11, 2019) MMA returns to Vernon