What began as one man’s vision will finally come to fruition when the 2012 American MMA Ohio Championships concludes this Saturday night at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The card features 15 bouts, including eight title fights to determine Ohio’s best amateur in each weight division.
The event was founded by Charles Reed of Cincinnati’s Reed Academy of Martial Arts in hopes of both preparing and challenging amateur fighters before they become professionals.
“It’s just something that Charles has been wanting to do for about eight years,” Event Coordinator Shawn Meyer said. “We wanted to get together the best of the best fighters in Ohio to compete against each other to see who the top-ranked fighters are and to give some validity to the title of a weight class.”
Meyer noted that the overall goal of the American MMA Championships is to raise the standard for Ohio’s amateur fighters and to improve the quality of professional fighters that the state produces.
“And so our goal is to take the amateur level and raise the bar, so to speak, to where they fight all the title fights around. What we do is, once a year, we’ll have our venue, and that will be the stepping stone for Ohio’s amateur fighters to turn pro,” Meyer said. “We just want to give validity to all of the titles earned and all the good solid records earned in the state of Ohio.”
Reed’s vision is a novel concept, but the American MMA Championships has had its challenges. For example, event organizers who had previously received confirmations from several fighters to compete in the tournament were later told “no” by their coaches. This made it harder for Meyer and matchmaker JL Barger to match up the best amateur fighters in Ohio against each other.
The crowd at the April 14 semifinals was also relatively small. Meyer hopes that lower ticket prices will bring more fans out to U.S. Bank Arena this Saturday. The April event was also marred by poor weather, which caused multiple accidents in the region and forced fighters to show up late for weigh-ins.
“Hopefully, we get some good sunny weather on Saturday, and things will turn out great,” Meyer said. “At the end of the day, I’m going to be more than proud to hand eight belts out to these winners on Saturday night.”
Meyer has good reason to be proud. The American MMA Championships features multiple fighters who are likely to turn professional soon. Heavyweight Tim Dunn turned in an impressive performance with his second round TKO victory over Kody Charlton in the semifinals. On Saturday, he’ll take on Jordan Beverly, who wowed the crowd with his 14-second knockout of David Smires earlier in the card.
Lightweight Quinton Cooperider finished his semifinal matchup against Zach Cook with an armbar just 35 seconds into the second round. He’ll face Michael Ambrose, who controlled Reggie Merriweather for a full nine minutes to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Another fight garnering interest is the Shane Holbert-Ian Emmons middleweight title fight. Both men are listed in the top ten of GatewayMMA’s 185-pound rankings and should put on an outstanding show for the crowd at U.S. Bank Arena.
The RAMA Promotions card is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. this Saturday, June 2. The event’s full lineup is listed below, with each fighter’s GatewayMMA.com ranking listed in parentheses.
Lisa Reed vs. Vanessa Demopoulos – women’s flyweight
Cortez Phelia (#2 FLW) vs. David Blattman (#10 BW) – flyweight
Justin McNally (#16 BW) vs. Alfred Leisure (#20 BW) – bantamweight
Tim Isaac vs. Jeff Smith (#3 FW) – featherweight
Quinton Cooperider (#2 LW) vs. Michael Ambrose (#10 LW) – lightweight
Robert White (#27 WW) vs. Max Scoby (#4 WW) – welterweight
Ian Emmons (#8 MW) vs. Shane Holbert (#4 MW) – middleweight
Tim Dunn (#1 HW) vs. Jordan Beverly (#3 HW) – heavyweight
Cory Ruthsatz (#25 LW) vs. David Bernas (#25 FW) – featherweight
Carlos Martinez vs. Julian Reynolds – featherweight
Cody Harris (#12 LW) vs. Jessie Iaquinta – lightweight
Steven Newell vs. Josh Lennert – welterweight
Joe Garcia vs. Christopher Tucker – welterweight
Matthew Reilman vs. Shane Wyatt – middleweight
DeVontai Moore vs. Shaun Smith – middleweight