The school of Hard Knocks

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Hard Knocks Fighting Championship brings MMA to Regina on Friday

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

On Friday, fans of mixed martial arts in the Queen City will have the opportunity to witness the fastest-growing sport in the world when the Hard Knocks Fighting Championship comes to the Turvey Centre.

The event, which is hosted by one of the Prairies’ fastest growing MMA promotions, is the city’s first mixed martial arts card since late May. The latest event is to feature 11 matches, showcasing competitors from across Canada convening in Regina to test their skills in the Hard Knocks cage.

Cord Crowthers, a promoter for the upcoming event, is eager to show Regina the wonders of mixed martial arts.

“I’m very excited for the event. This is the first cage event in Regina and we’ve got a great lineup of fighters. We’re all very excited for the show,” he said. “We’re going to see some of the best amateur fighters in the country – we’ve got fighters representing a number of different provinces – and they’re all going to be testing themselves to take it to the next level. It’s going to be great.”

Mixed martial arts is seen largely as a sport that caters only to certain demographics. However, Ari Taub, the owner and president of Hard Knocks, along with  Crowthers, strongly disagree with this assertion.

“This event definitely caters to people that love watching fights,” Taub said. “But it really cuts across demographics. The traditional demographic is 18- to 35-year-old guys, but there are older people and younger people that really enjoy the sport. I’ve found that a large portion of the Hard Knocks fanbase is female, too. Anyone can like it. If you haven’t seen it, come check it out.”

“We’re expecting to see a lot of new faces at this show. We’re hoping to have a strong university crowd. MMA attracts everyone from eight-years-old to 68-years-old – you get everyone,” Crowthers said. “A lot of people think that mixed martial arts events just attract troublemakers, but that’s just not true.”

Regardless of any preconceived notions of mixed martial arts, Crowthers argued that at $35.00 a ticket – with tickets available at hardknocksfighting.com, Braun and Beyond, Fitness Etc., and The Press Box – the event is worth checking out, even for the most casual fans of the sport.

“If someone is on the fence about going or not going, I would tell them that they’re going to be blown away – you’re not going to believe what you see,” Crowthers said.

Taub, who is also an attorney in Calgary, Alta., is hoping his upcoming event does more than just “blow away” those in attendance.

“I’m expecting to change a lot of perceptions about what MMA is and what MMA shows are about,” Taub said. “I want to expose a bunch of people that haven’t already experienced MMA to some local athletes and I’d like the local media to pay attention with what we’re doing and get on board – to help support the gyms and the local athletes that are competing so the sport grows.”

If you can’t make it to the event on the seventh, Taub insisted that regardless of how the upcoming card goes. Hard Knocks will indeed be back in Saskatchewan in the future.

“I would like to have an event in Regina four times a year,” Taub said. “We’re going to Estevan and everyone there is extremely excited about the event. I can’t believe the response that we’ve gotten from Estevan – it’s been great.”

“Regina is a spectacular market,” Crowthers added. “Fight fans in Saskatchewan are the best in Canada. People in Saskatchewan – Regina especially – crave live MMA action, and we’re more than happy to give it to them.”

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