- Our Town
Local MMA fighter wins nationals
With only two minutes to show what he's got, Tyson Hirscher proved that he is the best in Canada.
The local mixed martial arts athlete went undefeated in four one-minute round fights at nationals in Ottawa to claim the championship title and book a spot at worlds in Ireland next October.
Not bad for a 17-year-old kid from a small town in the Rocky Mountains.
There's also an element of redemption for Hirscher, who missed out on gold last year but still medaled with a bronze.
He wouldn't be denied this time around.
Each of his four bouts occurred last Friday night during the three-day event.
"When I was fighting, I thought, 'Well, I came all the way from small-town Cranbrook and I'm in Ottawa so I gotta represent.'"
The tournament is split up into two parts, with two fights in each portion. Each fight is only one round of two minutes, meaning there's no time to sit back.
"The main thing I was doing was controlling the mat and trying to push the pace," said Hirscher. "They're such short rounds that if you start losing right off the bat, you got to get in there right away, otherwise you're going to lose."
For his first fight, Hirscher went up against Spencer Cunningham, who is last year's champion—no small task.
However, Hirscher prevailed.
"There were a lot of people watching, they probably thought I was going to get my butt kicked because they've seen him and he's been a national champion two or three years in a row," he said.
"But I totally thrashed him."
Less than 10 minutes later, Hirscher was back into it for his second fight against a familiar opponent out of Calgary who he's faced before, and won that one.
Those two wins put him in first place heading into the second half of the tournament, an improvement from last year where he had a record of a win and a loss.
"I lost my first fight, then I won three in a row, but I only had enough [points] to get bronze," Hirscher said, reminiscing on his experience last year.
"So the first fight is really important."
Hirscher then went into his third bout against a fighter out of his weight class and won that one, which set up a rematch against Cunningham—his first opponent.
"Halfway through the fight I hit him with a liver kick, and he went down and bent over the table," said Hirscher.
"There was a standing eight-count, the ref was counting down and then he was good to go after that."
Cunningham was more fired up in the rematch, but Hirscher's liver kick pretty much sealed the win.
"After the first fight, he was pretty demoralized, so there were a couple people talking to him, telling him what went wrong," said Hirscher.
"The second time we fought, he looked more into it, he looked more determined to win. I just kept coming at him, and then that's when the liver kick happened and that was basically the end of the fight."
Hirscher got into martial arts through Taekwondo a few years ago through Evolution Martial Arts with Simon Wachon. He wanted to learn more stand up techniques and eventually signed up for Muay Thai with the Rocky Mountain Academy of Martial Arts under the tutelage of Joel Huncar.
Hirscher will continue to train over the summer for the world championship in Dublin next fall. There's a high cost to the trip, and if any businesses or individuals are interested in sponsoring his journey, they can contact Huncar at the Rocky Mountain Academy of Marital Arts at 250-489-3478.