The Ray House Memorial Fight Night at the George Dawson Inn on Saturday wasn’t all about knockouts and takedowns, wins or losses. It was more about honouring a Dawson Creek legend that was a leader to so many and a champion in and out of the ring.
“My brother Ray would be really proud to see all [the fans] here tonight and see what’s happening,” announced Clyde House to the 500-plus fans that packed the hotel’s banquet hall.
Clyde’s brother Ray, an esteemed martial arts coach and head of House Taekwondo, Kickboxing, MMA passed away suddenly in December; the event served as a reminder of all House has done for martial arts in the Peace Region for the past 25 years as a coach and mentor to hundreds who trained with him.
With every spirited fight, the ten-bout card was one Ray would have appreciated.
Dawson Creek’s Sean Cyr gave the home crowd something to cheer about as he and Prince George’s Bryden Kersy tuned on one another for nearly three full rounds in the first kickboxing match of the evening.
Cyr knocked out Kersy in the third after the two sent countless flurries at one another, never letting up for a second. The Cyr and Kersy battle was later decided as the Fight of the Night, but it wasn’t the only bout that brought the George Dawson crowd to its feet.
Other memorable fights included the Main Event, which featured Dawson Creek kickboxer Calvin Windsor, a pupil of Ray House, and Terrace’s Markus Bryant in a rematch from when the two fought in December at the Battle of the Bear’s Den in Terrace.
And just like in Terrace, the two went the distance, and once again the decision went to Bryant. The first two rounds could have gone either way but Windsor looked gassed in the third and final round, while Bryant continued to throw and land punches.
In the Semi-Main Event, Muay Thai fighters Kanyon Gleeson and Hector Blackwater faced off. Gleeson, who fights out of Tumbler Ridge, finished Blackwater off in the second round when Blackwater could no longer defend himself and the ref had to step in.
After a few solid leg kicks in the first round that appeared to injure Blackwater, Gleeson took advantage with his fists.
“I knew I sucked the life out of him,” said Gleeson, 18, following his fifth career win.
“I could see it in his eyes. In the second round I knew it was there for the left hook and I rocked him with it.”
A couple of other Dawson Creek fighters came up short in their matchups but not without putting up a fight.
Jason Carter of Northern Warrior Academy lost to Prince George’s C.J. Strongheart by technical knockout 12 seconds into the second round.
Carter would of liked to have seen the fight continue after taking a blow from Strongheart that sent him to the mat, but the referee called the match
“I was ready to bring it on the ground a bit, but it was a good experience – a lot of fun,” said Carter who was fighting in his first career bout against a more experienced Strongheart, who trains with Kai Ten MMA out of Prince George.
“As soon as I came into the building the nerves went up,” he said about entering the ring for the first time ever.
Another Dawson Creek MMA fighter, Tanner Supernault, took on Kai Ten’s Dane Newal in what could have easily been a candidate for Fight of the Night.
The Supernault and Newal bout had everything. Blows were exchanged to start the first round before Supernault took Newal to the ground where Newal took control but couldn’t force Supernault to tap out.
“I put too much into that Triangle at the end,” said Newal, typically a striker, who would of preferred to stay on his feet.
In the second, Newal was warned and penalized for shots to the back of Supernault’s head before landing a right that left Supernault defenceless, forcing the referee to call the fight with three seconds remaining in the round.
“He’s a tough dude. I landed a couple on him and he was throwing hard. I knew I could land them but I knew I had to be careful because that dude was throwing hard,” said Newal on facing Supernault.
A large contingent of Tumbler Ridge fans cheered on crowd favourite, Phil Dufresne, who entered the card for an impromptu bout with Dawson Creek’s Kyle Minealt.
Dufresne, a former Senior Canuck who trains in Tumbler Ridge, kept Minealt off his feet with several effective leg kicks.
“Kudos to him [Minealt], man, he was game and I thought we put on a good show for everybody and I hope everyone enjoyed it,” said Dufresne whose Muay Thai fight was added to the card at the last minute.
“I’m glad it was a first round finish because the wind wasn’t there this time around.”
Dufresne, who will fight for a B.C. Amateur title later this year, said Saturday’s fights were meaningful to everyone there and it was something he didn’t want to miss out on.
“This was for Ray… and I’m glad I was a part of it.”
Other results from the card:
* Peace River’s Philip Moore won his grappling match over Colton Zacharias of Vanderhoof’s Northern Institute of Brazilian Jujitsu. Zacharias tapped out twice before time ran out to give Moore the win.
* Scott Stewart of Vanderhoof won the night’s second grappling match over Peace River’s Chris Londacre.
* In the first MMA bout of the night, Prince George’s Tate Rawling made quick work of Vanderhoof’s Chris Wilson after choking him out 37 seconds into the first round.
* And Dawson Creek’s Colton Bottle lost by referee’s decision to Terrace’s Kohl Johnson in the second round of their kickboxing bout.