Fighters rain down punches during 'Thunder in the Cage' at Municipal Stadium
Jason Royer (on the ground) and Gustavo Kiesler compete in the first match of the night for "Thunder in The Cage" mixed martial arts held Saturday at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium. (By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer)
The rain of Kiesler punches came to an end and Royer left the cage on his own two feet after the opening bout of "Thunder in the Cage" was cut short by a downpour and actual thunder from the skies above Municipal Stadium.
Before the rain and that first bout, the mixed martial artists waiting to compete on a card that listed a dozen fights were psyching themselves for their moment of individual combat.
Derek Hays of Butler, Pa., was sixth on the card, scheduled to fight Gregory Lyman of Extreme Sportsplex in Martinsburg, W.Va. Hays, who was not affiliated with a club or gym, was slated to fight at 175 pounds, but looked considerably leaner.
"From 6:30 to 9:30 last night, I gained 16 pounds," ballooning from 153 to 169 pounds to make weight.
How did he do it?
"Water," Hays said. "It was rough. I thought I was going to drown."
Hays figured his actual weight for the fight would be closer to 160 pounds.
"I grew up with wrestling," said Jared Ferguson, 21, of Sharpsburg. He competed at Boonsboro High School in the sport, but considers his skills honed with Squared Circle to be well-rounded.
While his wrestling skills are strong, "I like to throw hands, too," Ferguson said.
"We're confident of his skills, but there's always worry," said Jared's brother Joshua.
"When he fights, I'll be in left field somewhere," said father David Ferguson.
"Dad likes to watch from afar and pace," said David's wife, Tina.
Mixed martial arts would seem to be a sport drenched in testosterone, but that would not apply to Randi Corter of Martinsburg, scheduled for fight for Elite MMA against Chelsea Wolff of Tactical Combat in Hagerstown.
Corter is 0-1 in mixed martial arts, having gotten her arm broken in that bout. She said she has done better in Toughman competitions, where she is 3-0.
How tough a person she is was demonstrated when she won a Toughman fight two weeks after getting that arm broken.
Cageside tickets for the event, sponsored by Valley Fight League and Break Away II and promoted by Squared Circle Promotions, were $100.
Jason Wyant of Hagerstown, girlfriend Helen Brooks and her son Shawn were anxiously awaiting the start of the action. Shawn said he is a big fan of Ultimate Fighting Championship fights.
The trio were within about two feet of the cage.
"I didn't think we'd be this close," Wyant said as they waited for the opening bell.