The Rat Pack fighting school out of Palmerton will showcase five fighters at this weekend's Tribute to Jim Thorpe the Olympian mixed martial arts event at Memorial Park in Jim Thorpe.
All five fighters will be competing in amateur competition, with one fighter competing for the 170-pound title.
That fighter is Andy Beil, who will be facing off against Colby Slonaker (2-0). Beil is 4-3 in his career as an amateur fighter and Rat Pack leader Nick Massington expects Beil to win the fight and also turn professional in August.
"Were expecting big things from Andy," said Massington. "He's definitely a guy to watch. When he's on I would put him in there against anybody. Assuming he wins, he will be turning pro this summer."
Three Rat Pack fighters will be making their MMA amateur debut Saturday. Walter Hess (0-0), Dan Brohm (0-0), and Justin Mazzella (0-0) will all be rumbling in the cage for the first time. Hess will compete at the 155 pound weight class facing Joe Powanda (0-0). Dan Brohm will also be fighting at 155, facing Chris Delese (0-0). Mazzella will fight at 145 and will square off with John Ortiz (0-0).
Sean Gemitter (1-1) will be making his third appearance in MMA, fighting at 145 pounds and will be facing off against Garrett Boyer.
"All three of our guys debuting are good tough kids," said Massington. "We train hard and we expect to win, but if we don't we'll just continue to work hard. It's just going to be a great experience for all of them and I'm excited to see how they all perform.
There have not been many local MMA events in past years, but Massington is thrilled to see his fighters battling in Jim Thorpe this weekend. Events closer to home makes it a lot easier for his fighters to get fans to pack the venues and it also creates a fun atmosphere for everybody involved.
"Promoters want you to sell tickets, but imagine driving three hours to an event," said Massington. "People from our area aren't going to drive three hours to see an amateur MMA fight so it makes it real difficult for us to sell tickets. When events are right in our backyard we can sell tickets a lot easier with all the guys friends and family wanting to come see them fight. It just becomes a great atmosphere for everybody."
A Tribute to Jim Thorpe the Olympian MMA Rock the Cage will take place at the Jim Thorpe Memorial Park tonight. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with food, refreshments, and entertainment. There will be 12 fights in all with two of them being professional fights.
Tickets can be purchased at the event, at Molly Maguires Pub in Jim Thorpe, or by calling Tracy at 570-657-1356.