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State Fair kicks off in ultimate style

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Champion of mixed martial arts in Colorado area, poses for the camera at Colorado State Fair. Photo by Jennifer Moreno.
The Colorado State Fair celebrated its 140th anniversary on Friday, Aug. 24 with it first Fight Brigade Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fight.

Competitors from New Mexico and Colorado gathered to participate in the Fight Brigade Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fighting event at the Southwest Motors Event Center.

The theme of the night included how to fight safely and how to show good sportsmanship.

The Colorado Commission of Boxing was on hand to make sure competitors were competing under the rules of the commission as well as practicing all safety standards involved in state fair fighting procedures.

Joseph Lawanson, a member of the Colorado Commission of Boxing, explained the need to have officials outside the ring as well as in the locker rooms as competitors are preparing for their fights. It is important to have someone in the locker rooms making sure competitors refrain from cheating or putting illegal objects in their wraps.

While the CCB was present and tried to ensure the event went smoothly, there was still confusion among out of-state competitors and their coaches.

William Kight from Albuquerque, one of the coaches for Jerome Martinez, said, “The athletic commission was unclear about when and where the coaches were to check in. We had our fighters checked in and went to buy hand wraps, but when we returned we were kicked out of the locker rooms for not having wristbands.”

Despite the confusion, the coaches were able to prepare their athletes for their fights and kept their athletes focused before their matches, but were not allowed to be ringside to advise their competitors.
Kight hopes for a more organized and effective communication between the commission and coaches for future events.

Mixed Martial Arts area champion, Nicholas Grado, 27, from Stockton Calif, has competed for two years. Grado is currently a fulltime student after serving as a sergeant in the United States Army for eight years, and hopes to make MMA a profession.

Some parents would feel like MMA is too violent for children to watch. Grado believes that there is a lesson to be learned and children need to know the difference.

“I do not believe the sport is too violent. My kids are at all of my fights. It is a matter of teaching them discipline and the difference between violence and sport.”

Although the sport is violent, Grado feels that professional wrestling can have benefits for a person making a transition from pro wrestling to MMA.

“Personally I wouldn’t go into professional wrestling, but this sport definitely would make that transition easier if someone wanted to,” said Grado.

For anyone contemplating getting into MMA fighting, Grado said to try. “It’s the only way to know, but prepare yourself the proper way before you step into any cage.”

The theme of the night was practiced by all participants and the fighters acted professionally.

Kight said, “It was a great event overall and very professional.” Kight also said he hopes the fair makes this an annual event and would like to participate in future events.