Fans of the ever-increasingly popular sport of mixed martial arts can have a good time and help a good cause this Saturday.
The Billings Senior Broncs wrestling team is sponsoring an MMA night at 7 p.m. in the Senior gym. Admission will be $20 for bleacher seats and $30 for floor seats.
Money raised will help pay for traveling expenses for the Broncs' team, uniforms and a planned new wrestling room at the end of the practice football field on the school's campus.
Senior coach Lonnie Robertson said 12 amateur bouts - none featuring Broncs wrestlers - will be held. The participants will come from Terrill Bracken's American Fusion Martial Arts school and promoter Marvin Crane of Idaho's stable. Fighters will be competing inside a hexagon cage.
"One of my wrestling parents this summer met up with this guy (Crane). He is a promoter in Idaho," said Robertson. "He contacted me about putting on this event for a fundraiser. He does them all throughout Idaho. He is coming up Nov. 22. We are billing it as 'The Battle of the Borders: Montana vs. Idaho.' "
Robertson recently attended Bracken's monthly show at the Shrine. He thinks the MMA action will be fun for wrestlers and wrestling fans to take in. Former NCAA wrestling champion Brock Lesnar won the UFC heavyweight championship Saturday night and former Billings Skyview and University of Wyoming standout Reese Andy will be competing in his 10th professional bout next month in a UFC pay-per-view.
"I think it will be a blast," said Robertson. "Wrestling is the ultimate martial art. It will be right down the alley as far as that goes.
"It was a good time (at the Shrine). The thing that will be nice for us is they had some really great fights for the most part. We won't serve alcohol, you can't at the school, so it will be different as far as that atmosphere goes. This guy in Idaho does it all over Idaho in schools and he said it is a great atmosphere and the crowd gets into it. It will be a nice, professional event."
Regular concessions available at high school athletic contests such as basketball games and wrestling duals will be offered. If all goes well, Robertson hopes to have another MMA show in the spring when wrestling season is over.
Currently the Broncs are in the process of raising money to build a new wrestling room. At the present time the team practices in the small gym, which it shares with both boys and girls basketball teams from freshman through varsity.
"We have to rotate times and there are groups that have to come in at 5:30 in the morning and practice before school up to 9:30 at night," said Robertson. "If we get this practice room, it will alleviate a lot of pressure on that."
Plans for the facility include a 50 x 100 foot building paid for by private donations and fundraisers like the MMA event. It would have locker rooms and a full wrestling room. If enough money is raised, there could also be a weight room. The goal is to break ground this summer.
"We have some good interest going as far as donations and stuff, but we need to get more," said Robertson.
To make a donation or for information on the MMA event, call Robertson at 247-2257 (school) or 652-7913 (home). Those wishing to make a donation can also call District 2 activities director Dave Williams at 247-3762.