Warpath 3 was not as generous to Avalanche MMA fighters as was the previous installment of the mixed martial arts competition in Chilliwack, B.C. on Friday.
In front of a sold-out crowd of about 950 people, the Whitehorse mixed martial arts gym was held to just one victory in five bouts, with Miller Rogers winning his third straight amateur fight to remain undefeated.
“I thought they were all pretty good,” said Cliff Schultz, owner/operator of Avalanche MMA. “That’s sometimes what happens in fights, you get caught and can’t recover. That’s what happened and we’re going to work with it, grow and become a better team – I think that’s what it’s going to make us. Now we know we just don’t win everything.”
At Warpath 2 in September, Avalanche fighters won all four of their bouts. A second win for Rogers the following month at Caged Rage 5 in Castlegar, B.C. moved the gym to a 5-0 record. After Friday, the gym is one win over .500, sitting at 6-4.
Warpath organizer and professional fighter Sean O’Halloran (5-1), who also coaches Schultz and conducts training clinics at Avalanche, was disappointed with the Avalanche fighters’ results but feels they have nothing to be ashamed of.
“I feel for the Avalanche guys, being an Avalanche guy myself – I do consider myself an Avalanche guy,” said O’Halloran. “Sometimes it’s just a hard day at the office. You can’t win them all.
“But every Avalanche guy performed phenomenally. They all came to fight, they were all prepared to fight, they all did their homework, they all did their training camp and they showed well.
“Showing well on fight cards is more important than winning or losing. If you’re interested in winning or losing, you’re in the wrong sport.”
Warpath 3 offered a couple of new opportunities for the Avalanche gym, with its first title attempt and first junior fighter competing.
Whitehorse’s TJ Woodman went three-and-a-half rounds with Kelowna, B.C.‘s Cameron Deluerme in the main event for the featherweight title before the ref stopped the fight. It was Woodman’s first title shot and Deluerme’s second.
“TJ Woodman, he lost his title fight, but he can’t be disappointed. He performed well,” said O’Halloran, “Submission attempt after submission attempt – everything went really well.”
At 15, Ryley Johnson was Avalanche’s first junior to compete, taking a first-round knock out to Abbotsford, B.C.‘s Gagan Gill. It was both fighters’ first fight.
Schultz also took a first-round, KO loss, to Kamloops’ Kolten Higginbottom, for his first defeat, moving to a 1-1 record.
Avalanche’s Stefan Brynolfsson went the distance in his loss to Chilliwack’s Brandon Wolkosky. Brynolfsson, who went in with a 1-0 record, went the full three rounds but lost by split decision.
“The Avalanche team has some things to work on and I’ll be coming back up to Whitehorse to work with them on some key points,” said O’Halloran, “It’s easier to teach them now, seeing mistakes in losses (rather) than seeing mistakes in wins.”
With none of the losing Whitehorse fighters showing signs of discouragement, a few of them will likely be eager to get back on the horse come Warpath 4 on February 17.
“Warpath 4 is coming up and we’ll probably have a couple guys coming in for that,” said Schultz.
“I just have to keep telling these guys to hold their head up high and keep training. There aren’t that many people who would have the balls to step in that ring.
“Hats off to all of them, even with the losses. A loss, to me, is nothing but a learning experience.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org