Sports

Fight night returns to 7 Cedars

Maybe those first few years, the skeptics had their way.

But mixed martial arts is a sport that definitely is here to stay, says Bristol Marunde.

The 29-year-old Sequim native and pro fighter who now resides in Las Vegas, says he's excited about bringing mixed martial arts, commonly known as MMA, to the Olympic Peninsula.

"Every casino wants their hand in a good show," Marunde says. "Now it's here."

The "Throwdown in Jamestown," set for Nov. 14 at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn, features a 10-fight card developed by Marunde, Tad Bremer and Xtreme Promotions.

Marunde says the roster includes local and regional fighters.

The first four preliminary fights are from 7-8 p.m. After an intermission, the second four preliminary fights are 8:15-9:15 p.m. and, after a second intermission, the semi and main event title fights are slated for 9:30-10 p.m.

The "Throwdown" also features special guest appearances from Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski and Demico Rogers. The pair are

scheduled to sign autographs from 6-6:45 p.m., during intermissions and in the casino's Club Seven after the fight.

Arlovski, 30, is a Belarusian mixed marital arts fighter and former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion. He is considered to be one of the top 10 ranked heavyweights in the world by several MMA publications. He's also featured in the upcoming third official "Universal Soldier" sequel titled, "Universal Soldier: A New Beginning," along with action legends Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren.

Rogers, a Renton native who trains with Ring Sports United in Bellevue, is a cast member on "The Ultimate Fighter," Season 10 on Spike TV. Rogers is on Team Rampage, coached by "Rampage" Quinton Jackson.

Although he's not fighting on Nov. 14, Marunde is active in MMA. With a record of 8-5 in professional fights, the 2000 graduate of Sequim High School has won his last five fights including a first-round knockout of Justin Davis on Aug. 15 in the Rumble on the Ridge 4 in Snoqualmie.

He's slated to take on Jordan Smith, he of the undefeated 13-0 record, on Nov. 20 in Salt Lake City.

"He's going to be 13-1," Marunde says.

Although mixed martial arts doesn't have the long history in popular sporting culture that boxing has, the sport/entertainment has become a multimillion dollar industry and spawned dozens of leagues, pay-per-view contests and videos.

And, like any other relatively young profession sport, mixed martial arts has seen its share of growing pains. Marunde once fought for the Seattle Tiger Sharks in the International Fight League - until the league went under.

Now Marunde trains with Xtreme Coutoure in Vegas, a gym run by 46-year-old Randy Coutoure, the MMA veteran, actor and five-time Ultimate Fighting Championship title-holder.

"It's the ultimate ego boost," Marunde says, trying to explain the fervor surrounding mixed martial arts.

"It's becoming more and more mainstream. The sport is definitely here to stay."

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