'Backflips & Beatdowns' set for April 5 at Metra

2014-01-11T22:45:00Z 2014-01-12T09:56:03Z 'Backflips & Beatdowns' set for April 5 at MetraBy JOHN LETASKY jletasky@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

It’s back.

The super show that combines flying motorcycles and mixed martial arts fighters inside a hexagon — aptly called Backflips & Beatdowns — will return to Rimrock Auto Arena on April 5 at 7:30 p.m.

The announcement was made during a Fusion Fight League card at the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday night.

“The big announcement is it’s Backflips & Beatdowns IV,” said Backflips & Beatdowns co-owner Terrill Bracken. “We’ve had a lot of demand and a lot of people are asking for it and the town is finally getting what it wants.”

A minimum of 10 MMA fights will be contested and professional freestyle motorcycle riders Rich Kearns, Kris Foster and Kyle Demelo will be soaring over the 28-foot hexagon ring surrounded by an eight-foot tall cage. Tyler Johnson, who is Bracken’s partner in Backflips & Beatdowns, Inc., said Kearns is one of the top five riders in the world, Foster is a Monster Energy Drink athlete and Demelo is a Red Bull athlete.

“I don’t know if we’ll bring in a quad,” Johnson said. “Most people are liking the bigger tricks with the motorcycles.”

The first Backflips & Beatdowns was held at Rimrock Auto Arena in late October 2011 before an estimated crowd of 2,000. The second and third editions were held at the arena in May and September of 2012.

But, this show will be different as “this one comes with a big kick,” added Johnson. That “big kick” is Backflips & Beatdowns, Inc. is finalizing a three-fight television contract with DIRECTV. The first of the three televised fights will be at Metra April 5 and be available for viewing on DIRECTV. The location and dates of the other two televised shows are to be determined.

“This is where we did the first one ever, let’s do it here on national TV,” Johnson said of the reason to hold the show in the Magic City. “We want Billings to step up. We are going to make the ticket prices cheap and make this a big deal.”

At the first event, a random fan filmed footage and it turned out to be “a video that went viral,” on YouTube, Bracken said. Johnson said the video generated 240,000 views in 24 hours, with Bracken adding it also caused a buzz on several national MMA sites.

Currently in the works, Backflips & Beatdowns, Inc. is in the process of signing Sean “Cubby” Peters of Billings to a three-fight contract. Peters owns a 6-1 pro record and has fought three times previously on Jungle Fight cards in Brazil.

“We think this is a way we can benefit our local fighters, so they can get a big break,” Bracken said of the television deal.

For those questioning the safety of Backflips & Beatdowns, the promoters say they have done their homework. Usually, the motorcycles approach the cage over a ramp and make the jump and landing between bouts.

“This is very, very safe. We will, if we jump a fight, only jump one,” Bracken said. “We jump between fights and don’t want to take away from fighters.”

The spectator seating is also placed strategically so the motorcycle jumps occur over safe zones, Bracken said, adding there are also air bags in place for rider safety. The jumps are performed in the climate-controlled arena and mud and dirt aren’t on the ramps, so debris doesn’t have the potential to fall from the motorcycles into the cage.

“Our show has been scrutinized and quality checked for safety,” Bracken said.

Both Johnson and Bracken are area natives. Johnson graduated from Laurel High School in 1996 and owns Octane Addictions Motorsports, which promotes freestyle motorsports shows and the NAHA hillclimb in Columbus. He also operates a graphics business, which produces stickers for buses and other service vehicles. Bracken is the owner of the Fusion Fight League and previously owned American Fusion Martial Arts in the Heights for 20 years. He is a 1985 Billings Senior graduate and currently a sergeant for the Bighorn County Sheriff’s office.

For information, visit the Backflips & Beatdowns Facebook page at www.facebook.com/backflips.beatdowns.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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