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Connecticut-based MMA company
to offer two June events
By Brian Woodman Jr.
Â The Connecticut-based Mixed Martial Arts company Reality Fighting, which will present its next event at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville on June 2, has garnered attention throughout New England for shows featuring amateur and professional fighters.Â
Â The organization, which operates out of Marlborough, also offers straight grappling events under the name NAGA (North American Grappling Association). NAGA, which presents open compe-titions for participants with and without Gis across the world, will host its next New England event in Hartford on June 30 at the Connecticut Convention Center.
â€‹Â Â â€œWe have a large amount of interest and fighters since we were the first to do MMA events in New England,â€? said Joe Cuff, who is vice-president of the company. He said it has a great relationship with Mohegan Sun and organizers hope to continue presenting fights there.
Â Â Reality Fighting/NAGA was called NEGA (New England Grappling Association) when it was first formed in 1995 and offered strictly grappling events. It offered MMA events under the name Rhode Island Vale Tudo about three years later before changing its name to Mass Destruction in 2001 when it started to do shows in Massachusetts.
Â Â Â â€œReality Fighting was established in 2002 as the name of the shows we did in New Jersey, although the first event was in Massachusetts,â€? said Cuff. â€œThe weight classes were not like the unified ones of today. The fighters were mainly matched up at weights around 154.9 pounds and under; between 155 and 174.9; between 175 and 200; and 200 and over.â€?
Â Â â€œWe now follow the weight classes established by whichever commission governs where our event takes place. Currently the Mohegan Commission uses the unified weight classes.â€?Â
Â Â Â Â Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Gabriel Gonzaga, who recently rejoined the UFC, took the Reality Fighting heavyweight belt from Parker Porter by a submission win in the third round of their Oct. 8 fight in Uncasville. It remains Gonzagaâ€™s only match in Reality Fighting, although Cuff confirmed that Gonzaga is still recognized as Reality Fightingâ€™s heavyweight champion.Â
Â Â Â Â MMA stars such as Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian, Miguel Torres, Matt Sera, Tim Sylvia,Â Jorge Rivera
Middleweights Eddie Saldana and Dwight Grant fight on Feb. 25 at a Reality Fighting event at Mohegan Sun. Grant won the bout by technical knockout in the third round.
ARCHIVED STORYÂ Â Â SPRING/SUMMER 2012
and Mike Brown have also competed with Reality Fighting.Â
Â â€œSome of those mentioned did grappling matches while others fought in MMA (matches),â€? said Cuff. â€œBrown, Rivera and Sylvia were with us really early on.â€?Â
Â Â The organization also held a Feb. 25 event at the casino that was aired live on Blackbelt TV. The main event featured Alexandre Moreno of New Hampshire, who successfully defended his middleweight title from Domenic Gagliardi of Bristol, CT. Other title holders with Reality Fighting include light heavyweight Mike Stewart, welterweight Tim Pinney, lightweight Joe Proctor, featherweight Josh Laberge and bantam-weight Emil Haddad.
Â Â The next Uncasville event will include two title fights. The first will be a featherweight fight between John Naples of New London and Erik Lee of West Hartford. The final fight will be a welterweight battle between Nate Lamotte of New Hampshire and Brett Oteri of Massachusetts.
Â NAGA, which records the performance of partic-ipants at its events through a national ranking system, will present its Hartford event under the auspices of Europa; a weekend expo highlighting fitness and athletics. The grappling event will include divisions based on experience level, age, gender and weight.