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November 23, 2016 - 12:21pm

Local promoter bringing one of the state's first MMA events to Batavia

posted by Howard B. Owens in Mixed Martial Arts, sports, batavia, Le Roy, news.

mmapromonov2016.jpg

Since Sept. 1, mixed martial arts competitions have been legal in New York, and Batavia will be at the forefront next month of hosting tournaments.

Rich Mitchell, of Le Roy, and originally from Stafford (far right in photo) is a former professional MMA fighter and for the past five years has judged fights. Now he's moving into the promotional side of the business, sponsoring his first tournament Dec. 17 at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

"I’ve been involved with this sport and it was just time (to become a promoter)," Mitchell said. "It’s a natural progression."

There was a promoter in Buffalo, but he's become a deputy commissioner for the sport in New York, so that opened up the WNY market to competition.

Mitchell is planning on promoting six events a year, three in Batavia and three in Buffalo.

At first, the events will be all amateur bouts because professional fights, especially for insurance, are a lot more expensive to stage, but moving up into the promotion of professional fights is definitely part of the plan, Mitchell said.

"It's a little way off," Mitchell said, "maybe a year or two."

The event Dec. 17 starts at 6 p.m. and will feature Morgan Cavanach and Tom Shelby. Tickets are $30 pre-sale, $35 at the door, and VIP cage-seats are $50.

For more information, visit groundforcefights.com.

Top photo: Eddie Ortiz and Pete Flanagan, both on the left, are two of the local fighters who will participate Dec. 17. Joe Loftus, second from right, was originally on the card but will have to sit out because of an injury; and Mitchell.

Bottom photo: Wrestling students and MMA participants at Main Street Fitness, Le Roy.

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