SALEM – Mixed Martial Arts comes to John A. Cabas Gymnasium Saturday, April 11 as local fighters take to the cage in Caged Combat 5 .
Fighters from Eastern Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania take to the ring in the fifth installment under promoter Tim Payne. The Cleveland based show has already seen its share of success over the past two years and has featured many local fighters from Northeast Ohio. Looking at the lack of fighting events within Columbiana County, it seemed almost a fit for Payne to bring one of Ohio’s most popular events to Salem.
“Ohio holds the most MMA contests in the United States,” Payne said. “California finished second. “From my understanding, there are not a lot of big events held in this area, so the feedback that we’re getting is good. This is something that people want to see and with the amount of local fighters that we have, we’ve created a buzz about this event. Plus, some of the money from this event is going to the Salem Athletic Boosters Club, so this is also helping the school.”
“Ohio had over 180 fights last year, compared to California’s 96.” fighter Dominic McGhee explained. “Some weekends, take this past Thanksgiving weekend for example, the Wednesday before had two different fights in two different cities, then the Friday after there were two more fights and that Saturday the same; I also believe there was one on Sunday, so you have seven different fights going on in the same weekend.”
Out of the 20 bouts scheduled on the card, 12 will feature fighters from around the area, including one of the title fights for the Caged Combat title. Dominic McGhee will take on Jason Lawrence for the 155-pound belt, and A.J Carl against Jason Smucker at 145.
Gaining in popularity over the past two decades, the MMA style of fight has surged through a combination of televised events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and through a positive public response to amateur MMA events, such as the sold out venues in Niles and Stubenville. Mixing boxing with karate and wrestling styles, the adrenaline filled sport has gained supporters throughout gyms, and boxing instructors from around the country, including Salem native and one time professional boxer Bob Plegge. Owner the Salem Boxing Club, Plegge has also helped train many of the fighters participating in this event.
“A big thanks goes out to Bob Plegge,” Payne said. “From both myself and these guys for helping with this event, the use of his facility, and teaching and training these guys.”
Tickets are $25 for general seating, $50 for floor seating, and $75 for cage side seats with the doors opening to the public at 5:30 p.m. on April 11. To purchase tickets, call 330-692-2610 or visit www.timpaynepromotions.com Tickets can also be purchased at Mike’s Penn Grill in Salem or www.trufighterindustries.com.
Written By MIKE VLAIKU