TOTAL KNOCKOUT: Grow Strong MMA Fight Night overcame setbacks to become a resounding success.
TOTAL KNOCKOUT: Grow Strong MMA Fight Night overcame setbacks to become a resounding success.

Spectator jumps in after fighter hospitalised at Fight Night

THE Grow Strong MMA Fight Night was a showcase of Southern Downs resilience as fighters overcame a number of hurdles both in and outside of the cage.

81KG catchweight competitor Robbie Skilton was involved in a car accident en route to the event and was transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Event organiser and Grow Strong trainer Ben Pepper said Skilton was in a stable condition.

Rather than leaving travelling opponent Ueta Utai without a match, local fighter Tim York borrowed a pair of shorts and quickly changed from spectator to competitor.

The two grappled in a wrestling match, unable to fight MMA style without the proper safety equipment on hand.

“As soon as we understood what had happened (to Skilton) the guys were really understanding,” Pepper said.

More than 400 people turned out to support the event with little more than standing room available at the WIRAC hall.

Pepper reported a larger crowd than previous events.

“It’s creeping up each time, we just need to keep putting on these fight nights and growing it into what we want it to be,” he said.

“I want it to be the best quality MMA fight show in the country.”

The Grow Strong team hopes to gradually improve aspects of their event such as commentary, lighting and side matches, to ultimately reach their goal.

In the meantime, however, the main drawcard is the fighters and Pepper said watching debuts was his favourite part of the job.

“I don’t care if they win or lose, the main thing is they’re really going for it,” he said.

“They’ve been training to get ready for ages and then to come out to hundreds of people for the first time and completely exposing themselves to the world is really something.

“It’s what keeps me coming back to the sport.”

56KG catchweight competitor Samuel Rudolph won for the first time against Christopher Hanlon and Pepper said it was inspiring to see such a major improvement.

“It’ll be really interesting to see how he progresses,” he said.

The main event was the light heavyweight bout between Erik Glouftsis and James O’Connor.

Glouftsis had three fights under his belt whereas O’Connor was making a debut, which made Pepper apprehensive about the match.

“But it was the best fight of the night in my eyes,” Pepper said.

“They went back and forth from the start until the final bell.

“Glouftsis finally won by a decision in the final round.”

For more information about upcoming events visit facebook.com/GrowStrongFN



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