Hometown favorite Anthony Ruiz will fight in the main event at the June 14 Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.
The casino is hosting the Up & Comers Unlimited (UPC) fights and Cal Fire firefighter and former Yosemite High School wrestler Ruiz, is looking forward to fighting in his backyard.
“It means everything to me to have the opportunity to fight here in front of my family and supporters,” Ruiz said. “I have got so much support and love from this town it has been amazing ... I don’t call it a fan base, I call it a support group. Fighting here is a dream come true.”
Nicknamed the “A-Train,” the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ruiz, with a 33-18 professional win-loss record trains out of Fresno’s Dethrone Basecamp, headed by UFC fighter Josh Koscheck. Seventeen of his 33 wins have come by way of knockout. Ruiz, who has fought all over the world, recently returned from Russia and is currently riding a four fight win streak and hopes to continue his winning ways at home.
“Anthony is a great guy and he is truly a trail blazer for the sport,” said UPC President Jason Wiener. “He has always had a reputation of a first-class, humble guy who is going to get in there and let it rip,”
Ruiz, who lost his first and only other fight at Chukchansi in 2005, says he feels mentally and physically primed for his June 14 fight.
He is sponsored by 51fiftyenergy drinks and the Sportsman Den in Oakhurst.
The 14-fight card will include eight semi-final fights part of the Fighter Source World Challenge.
Fighter Source is a MMA league aimed at promoting amateur fighters in hopes of catapulting MMA into an Olympic sport as early as the 2016.
Winners of the June 14 Fighter Source Regional league fights will travel to New York for the United States Fighter Source national finals on July 28. Winners in the New York national finals will then have the opportunity to travel to London in September to represent Team USA against 10 other countries from across the globe in the official Fighter Source World Challenge.
“We are thrilled to be back there (Chukchansi) ... we were there two years ago for a sold out event, and we are expecting the same,” said UPC President Jason Wiener. “This is a beautiful facility and we are thrilled to be there. We have some great fights on the card and it will definitely be an action packed night.”
As a Fresno production, Up & Comers focuses on providing fast pace thrilling entertainment through the world of MMA. According to Wiener the package will be broadcast a few weeks later to more than 100 million households across the country via the United Fight Alliance (UFA) Network.
“Just for the chance for a amateur athlete to travel around the country and be competing, representing the US is amazing,” Wiener said. “Being able to bring a national television event right to Coarsegold and the Valley, that played a big role in why I chose to do this. It’s a great way to showcase Chukchansi, the Valley and the fighters.”
For those who are interested, UPC will be will be hosting a viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Fresno and will be showing UPC fights previously fought in Pueblo, Colo.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with fights starting at 7 p.m. The cost of the event is $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP. Tickets are available locally at Sportsman Den, Mountain Feed and Nursery and Yosemite Smog or online at chukchansigold.com.