Saturday night fight

MMA competition to feature three UW-Eau Claire students


GET IN THE CAGE: Ryan Williams, Stephanie LaPointe and Brock Reynolds, above, will all compete Saturday at the Fight League, put on by Lanista Entertainment and the UW-Eau Claire Mixed Martial Arts Club. Submitted

Story by Nick Erickson, Managing Editor

Bright lights, a raucous crowd and an octagon.

On Saturday night, Zorn Arena will transform its basketball court into a professional-grade Ultimate Fight Championship setting for the The Fight League, put on by Lanista Entertainment with the help of UW-Eau Claire’s Mixed Martial Arts Club.

The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with doors opening at Zorn Arena at 6 p.m. To hype up the competition and make it as authentic as possible, there will be official weigh-ins at 7 p.m. Friday in Schofield Auditorium for the 30 fighters competing from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Hunter Promer, vice president of the MMA Club, said the goal of the event is to get people interested in mixed martial arts fighting and provide a similar experience to the fans of the sport at its level already.

“I’m optimistic, but I’m hoping people will be shocked at how well put together it is,” Promer said. “It will be hopefully very similar to the UFC, so if they like good action, it’ll be entertaining. No matter what.”

Of the 30 competitors who will enter the eight-sided cage Saturday night, three are Eau Claire students and members of the MMA Club: Ryan Williams, Stephanie LaPointe and Brock Reynolds. Blugold head wrestling coach Steve Wozniak will also compete.

After an unsuccessful attempt to host a fight night last fall, Promer and others in the MMA Club worked with Jason Jones of Lanista Entertainment to bring the event to a college campus.

LaPointe said having the event in Eau Claire, especially on campus, is something special for her, Williams and Reynolds to showcase their talents in front of friends and family members.

“That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” LaPointe said. “It’s a really unique situation to have your first fight here.”

Indeed, LaPointe and Williams will be competing in their first ever MMA-style event. The two had some experience in competitive fighting before. LaPointe wrestled in high school and Williams has boxing experience.

The MMA Club is an open invitation to anyone on campus looking to stay physically active or learn self-defense. But getting ready for a full-fledged cage match is an entirely different animal.

Williams said the three of them have upped the workout load exponentially since returning from winter break, waking up at 6 a.m. almost daily and work out two to three times a day.

LaPointe said while the work has been rigorous, stressful and exhausting, it’s totally worth it to get into the best shape she’s ever been.

“Nobody else is getting in that cage, so I’m just going to enjoy it and take it in,” LaPointe said. “I want to work hard, I don’t want it to be easy.”

Win or lose, Williams said the big goal of the night is to give fans a show. But of course, a victory would be nice.

“Just showing all the aspects of what I’ve been working on and just entertaining, that’s the biggest part,” Williams said. “But I really do want to get that win after working so hard.”

Tickets for the event are on sale at the Service Center and the Zorn Arena door Saturday night. Weigh-ins Friday are free of charge.