Yasinsky brings MMA to area
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Brian Hawk (against the ropes) spars with Joel Roberts (center) during a workout at Rat Pack Fighting Systems in Palmerton.
History in the making.
That's what observers will witness when a form of Mixed Martial Arts fighting makes its debut in the Lehigh Valley later this month.
For the first time ever, the World Cagefighting Championships will be held May 28 at the Agri-Plex Agricultural Hall in Allentown.
Doug Yasinsky, chief executive officer of the WCC, said there will be between 10-12 professional and amateur bouts on the card.
"It's going to be a hell of a show," Yasinsky said. "It [MMA] is the fastest growing sport in the world."
The main event is former International Fight League heavyweight Bryan Vetell against undefeated heavyweight Chris Barnett.
In addition, Yasinsky said there will be anywhere from 10-12 fighters from Carbon County and the Lehigh Valley area on the show.
A professional fighter who sports a record of three wins and two losses, Joel Roberts of Lehighton will be among the local fighters on the card.
Roberts said the event is more than just another fight.
"It's cool to have a great fight in your backyard," Roberts said. "I'm just looking forward to fighting in the Lehigh Valley."
Other fighters who will be on the card include Brian Hawk of Jim Thorpe, and Matt Breiner and Dave Versuk, both of Lehighton.
An amateur fighter, Hawk said he performs as a hobby.
"I'm trying to get a couple more fights in, so I'm just enjoying it," Hawk said. "I like that you're competing against yourself and somebody else in the cage."
Breiner, an amateur fighter, said he views the card as a huge opportunity.
"It's so awesome to be able to fight in front of your friends and family," Breiner said. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity."
Versuk, also an amateur fighter, said the event will allow him to showcase his skills.
"It feels good to be able to be show why you're training hard," Versuk said. "It's a good opportunity, and hopefully they'll have more fights in the Lehigh Valley."
A professional wrestler of 15 years who at one time worked under the name Doug Flex in the former Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion, Yasinsky said MMA just became legalized in Pennsylvania last year.
Soon after, he decided to start the company, along with promoter Duke Valenti of Lehighton, and partner Jeff Sibbach of Allentown.
Since then, Yasinsky said the promotion has held several shows throughout the East Coast.
"It's almost like a home game for us, because we're used to traveling over four hours back and forth for our events," he said. "There's so much local talent in the Lehigh Valley that the world doesn't know about."
Yasinsky said plans are already under way on a package for worldwide online pay per views that could be available by October.
"I would just like to ask the people to come out and support their local fighters," said Yasinsky, who added he's looking to put on more shows in the area over time. "Bigger and better things are going to happen with World Cagefighting in the future."
Tickets are available online at www.wcc-mma.com. Reserved seats are $45-$75, while general admission is $30 in advance, or $35 at the door.
For more information, follow World Cagefighting championships on Facebook, or call 570-778-6215.