Fight fans, get ready for Saturday night.
Midwest Championship Fighting is bringing yet another stacked card of mixed martial arts action to North Platte with MCF 18 at the D&N Event Center.
MCF, which was founded by Kelly Wiseman and later bought by local attorney Russ Jones in 2013, has continued to grow in an effort to bring a fan-friendly night of fun to the area.
Because lack of entertainment options is a common complaint Jones hears, his aim is to fill that void and provide a big-time show experience.
"We’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere, so I want to bring Vegas to North Platte," Jones said.
Wiseman, a former Milatich fighter and prominent North Platte MMA figure, along with MCF founder will be one of the pay-per-view commentators on mmafutures.com, alongside local radio personality Scott Carlson.
"Kelly is the pioneer of MMA in the this town, no doubt, so it’s awesome to have him on the (pay-per view call)," Jones said.
Like MCF, the sport of MMA has sprouted in popularity over the years, transforming from niche at best in the 90s to now being broadcast on major television networks. In 2016, MMA’s premier fighting promotional company, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), was sold for $4 billion.
"I grew up loving boxing and then was asked by Larry Haneborg to announce a fight event. I started getting into to MMA from there," Jones said. "For people who have only seen it on TV, I’d tell them they need to come watch live. It’s a totally different experience."
In the last six years, Jones has put on 12 events, with MCF becoming one of two major promotions in Nebraska.
"Our crowds are by far the largest of any promotion in the state," Jones said. "MCF fight cards are becoming known for having national talent unmatched by any promotion in the Midwest."
Jones, along with local MMA fighter Ryan MacDonald are also trying to give back to the community in more ways than just entertainment.
MacDonald and his gym, 6910N1 MMA and Fitness, along with Jones Law Office recently partnered to provide affordable MMA training for young men and women in the North Platte area. Jones Law Office matches the fighters’ $20 per month fee for the gym.
"Ryan and I are committed to getting young people away from drugs, alcohol and video games in our sometimes troubling world," Jones said.
Jones credits MacDonald not only for being a positive representative for the area, but also trying to pay it forward and promote future fighters in a positive way.
"These young men and women are lucky to have him in their corner," Jones said. "If the students absorb what he has to offer, they will become better fighters, people, and citizens of our community."
As for Saturday’s action in the octagon, there’s a little something for everyone.
The card, listed below, features amateur and professional fights from various weight classes, one female fight, title fights, local and non-local fighters, and even a "street fight" meaning neither fighter has specifically been training for MMA.
The main event features a pair of fighters who were recently featured on Dana White’s Contender Series on ESPN+. Both lost their respective bouts, but Jones surmises White will have an eye on Saturday’s result between Terrance "T.Wrecks" McKinney of Spokane, Washington, and Darrick Minner of Nebraska City.
"(White) just saw both of them fight and even though they lost, I think there’s a chance they get offered a contract if either finishes the other," Jones said.
If McKinney’s name sounds familiar, it’s likely from his time wrestling for Chadron State College from 2014-16.
Jones calls the co-main event between Dionisio Ramirez and Aaron Mitchell a battle of "rising stars that could be on the Contender Series next year."
The card also features four additional pro fights and three amateur title fights. Jayson Scott, Kam Jordan, Cody Land, Tyler Prokop, David Garcia, Jared Huerta, Jordan Vigil and Tyler Gruber are among the local fighters on the card.
Gates open for Saturday’s event at 6 p.m., with the fighter parade and fights slated to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at mcf18.eventbrite.com or at the door.
Cody Scherer (0-0) vs. Jake Nekuda (0-0)
Crook, Colorado North Platte
Roger Linn (1-0) vs. Jareb Huerta (0-0)
Omaha North Platte
Cheryl Salazar (3-1) vs. Rebecca Wells (3-4)
Kayne Duncan (1-0) vs. Vyphot Keomanivong (4-1)
Fort Wayne, Indiana Kearney
TJ Evans (3-2) vs. Jayson Scott (7-2)
Scottsbluff North Platte
Keilen Fantroy (10-8) vs. Justin Weaver (8-5)
Chris Gard (pro debut) vs. Jacob Kindig (pro debut)
Kearney Fort Wayne, Indiana
Justin Parker (1-2) vs. Jesse Rutherford (0-1)
Blayne Richards (1-0) vs. Jordan Vigil (pro debut)
Omaha North Platte
Jordan Downey (5-4) vs. Cody Land (15-10)
Fort Wayne, Indiana Kearney
Patrick Carey (4-1) vs. Tyler Prokop (4-2)
Denver North Platte
Brady Minner (8-4) vs. Taylor McKeeman (6-2)
Nebraska City North Platte
Kyle Egolf (6-0) vs. Kameron Jordan (11-8)
Fort Wayne, Indiana North Platte
Dionisio Ramirez (8-5) vs. Aaron Mitchell (6-1-1)
Indio, California Mason City, Iowa
Terrance McKinney (7-2) vs. Darrick Minner (22-10)
Spokane, Washington Nebraska City