Will Big Medicine Hammond is coming back to Kalispell and if the town’s as good to him as it’s been in the past, he figures he’ll keep coming back.
Hammond is a mixed-martial arts promoter with White Buffalo Warriors out of Washington. He has organized several MMA fights in Kalispell before, but not since 2006. Those past events drew large crowds and featured top-notch fighters, he said.
Hammond is hoping for the same kind of response when he returns to Kalispell with Ultimate Cage Wars at the Majestic Valley Arena on June 25. Doors open at 6 p.m. and fights begin at 7:30 p.m.
“The event in 2003 at the Majestic Valley Arena, most people don’t realize it but the fighters in the ring, most of them went on to fight in big UFC events,” Hammond said. “It was underground – nobody really knew about it but it ended up being kind of a big event.”
The last time Hammond participated in a Kalispell event at the Majestic Valley Arena, he said 1,800 people were in the crowd. He said if he gets at least 1,200 this time he will plan future Kalispell events.
“If the butts are in the seats – and it looks like the butts are going to be in the seats – we intend to immediately announce another show,” he said.
As of late last week, 11 fights were already set and Hammond was working on finalizing two more, including a women’s bout. The evening will feature three professional fighters from Montana fighting three professional opponents from Washington. Many of the amateur fights will also pit Montana versus Washington.
Both Hammond and Travis Davison, owner of Straight Blast Gym in Kalispell, say the evening is good for Montana fighters who often face the same opponents over and over again within the state.
Davison has three fighters from his gym participating, including professional Zach Dickson. Duran Flaget is fighting in an amateur title bout and Jarrett Smith of Columbia Falls is making his debut. Straight Blast Gym is a ticket outlet for the event.
“It will be a good opportunity for our guys,” Davison said.
Michael Hader, a former wrestling and football star at Columbia Falls High School, will be fighting against Bradley Prather of Yakima, Wash., in a 155-pound amateur title fight. Hader was a fan favorite at a Kalispell Kombat event in 2009.
Hammond said there are a number of American Indians participating, including one in each of the professional fights, including Hammond. Hammond, 40, is Salish and from St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Across the board, Hammond is happy with the scheduled matchups.
“I hate mismatches and I don’t think I have any,” he said.
Based on the enthusiasm the Flathead has shown in the past, Hammond anticipates he’ll hit his seating goal, which means there should be more Ultimate Cage Wars in the future.
“We would like this program to perpetuate itself,” he said. “I would love to do it two or three times a year in Kalispell.”
Tickets, which start out at $20 for presale purchases, can be found at Straight Blast Gym at 30 Fourth St. in Kalispell or by calling Davison at (406) 250-2380. Tickets are also available at Majestic Valley Arena. For more information, visit www.whitebuffalowarriors.net.
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