Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Steve Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been nine years since Mike Brown's last fight in New England.
Mike Brown, a former state wrestling champion at Bonny Eagle High, long ago found his niche in mixed martial arts, growing with the sport as it gained popularity.
The Associated Press
Mike Brown, right, will be fighting in New England for the first time in nine years when he takes on Steven Siler during a UFC card in Boston on Aug. 17.
BACK IN THE UFC
WHO: Mike Brown vs. Steven Siler
WHEN: Aug. 17
WHERE: TD Bank Garden
In that time he's risen from relative unknown to world champion in the sport of mixed martial arts.
He's gone from teaching self-defense seminars to police officers for $25 a head to help cover his own training costs to coaching aspiring professionals at one of the world's top MMA gyms.
At age 37 the kid from Standish who won a state wrestling title at Bonny Eagle High in 1992 sees the end of his fighting career getting closer by the day.
"I'm old. I'm definitely the oldest lighter weight fighter in the UFC," Brown said.
But he isn't finished. The passion that fueled him during his efficiency-apartment, hot-plate cooking days is still strong.
"You do feel like a bit of a gladiator sometimes when you walk out to the bright lights and 10 or 15,000 people are going crazy," Brown said. "It's quite the rush and there's a lot on the line. Money is on the line. Your manhood, your ego, they're on the line. And your health. You can really get hurt."
It is close to 15 months and one neck surgery to fuse two vertebrae at the base of his neck since Brown experienced that rush in a three-round unanimous decision victory over Daniel Pineda at UFC 146 in Las Vegas.
Prior to the Pineda fight, Brown was giving serious thought to retiring. Instead, shortly after the victory he signed a five-fight agreement with the UFC.
"I don't think I'll fight five more times but I performed great in my last fight and felt good and had fun in there," Brown said. "That's my gauge. As long as I'm having fun."
Brown gets back into the octagon Aug. 17 against Steven Siler as part of UFC on Fox Sports 1 at the TD Garden in Boston. The UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is regarded as the world's premier MMA organization.
"He wanted one more fight. I have a lot of respect for the guy," said the UFC president, Dana White. "He was a champion. He wanted one more fight and we're going to give it to him."
Brown enters with a 26-8 record and the distinction of being the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight (145-pound) champion.
Brown was 6-2 in WEC bouts, including two successful defenses of his featherweight title. At the time the WEC was owned by Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, and was the top organization for lighter weight fighters. In October 2010 the two outfits merged under the UFC banner.
The bout against Siler will be Brown's fifth straight with the UFC. Siler, 26, originally from Anaheim, Calif., is 22-10 and five inches taller than the 5-foot-6 Brown.
Brown was originally scheduled to fight Akira Corassani of Sweden. No matter his opponent, he'll make $30,000 to show up and another $30,000 to win, with the chance of additional bonuses.
"The thing is you make the most money you've ever made at the end of your career. Every time you fight it's usually the most money you've ever made," Brown said. "For me, if I win, it will be the most money I've ever made."
SUPPORT IN THE EARLY DAYS
Cape Elizabeth police detective Paul Fenton, a trained defensive tactics instructor, jumped on the MMA fan bandwagon at a time when mainstream media thought the sport barbaric, the average person didn't know UFC from UFO, and most states -- Maine included -- refused to sanction fights.
But Fenton, 40, could see it was gaining traction. He also figured "there were going to be both good guys and bad guys who practiced MMA," and law enforcement better learn the basics, too.
(Continued on page 2)
click image to enlarge
Mike Brown, right, will be fighting next month for the first time since defeating Daniel Pineda, left, in a three-round decision in Las Vegas in May 2012.