The Grand Strand is set for the biggest MMA fight card it’s ever seen.
Warfare MMA will be hosting its 12th edition at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach on Friday starting at 7 p.m., and will be loaded with local talent with 12 fights on the card.
Myrtle Beach resident Tomar Washington (5-3-1) will be taking on Bobby Gurley (3-3), from Oak Ridge, N.C., in the main event of the heavyweight division. Josh Williams (2-0) is set to fight Ronald Stallings Jr. (5-2) in the main event of the middleweight division.
Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach resident Derrick Brown (0-0, 6-1 amateur) will be making his pro debut as he takes on Cliff Thompson (3-1) in the main event of the light heavyweight division.
“At Warfare 12 fans can expect see best fight card we’ve ever put on,” Warfare MMA CEO Andy Hall said. “We’ll have guys fighting for five state championships. The guys we brought in are the best in the region in regards to the overall talent and this fight card far surpasses anything we’ve ever put together.”
Myrtle Beach resident Cody Jones (8-1) will be defending the Warfare Welterweight (170) Southeast Regional Title as he takes on the undefeated Joseph Son (5-0). Myrtle Beach resident Micah Barr will defend the Warfare Heavyweight State Title as he is set to fight Jeremy Thurman (8-13).
Myrtle Beach resident Jeremiah Scott will be taking on Bart Weeks (3-1) for the vacant Warfare Featherweight State Title. Myrtle Beach resident Brandon Bushaw (7-3) is set to fight Me’Shack Adams (7-2) for the vacant Warfare Bantamweight State Title.
“It’s great for the local MMA community, which is growing rapidly,” Hall said. “It’s a tourist town and these events bring in people from all over. We’ve already sold 230 tickets to people that live over four hours away. It’s really great because we’re putting heads in beds with these people buying nights in hotels. We’ve already filled out the Clarion Hotel with people coming to our event. When you bring people out of town, it really just bolsters what we’re doing. It’s really growing fast.”
Little River resident Tresean Gore (2-1) is ready for his fight against Brian Harris (3-2)
"I am expecting three rounds,” Gore said. “You never want to go into a fight expecting an early finish because it doesn't always happen. So I expect it to be a full fight but I'm definitely gonna be going for the knockout or the finish. I'm gonna go out there and be ready to spar."
Gore lost his previous bout after a five-round unanimous decision went to Corey Vail. Gore said he’s learned from his loss.
"My last fight was a loss, but everyone told me that you're going to suffer some losses,” he said. “I don't like that feeling, I didn't even eat for two days so I don't want to feel that again. I got that out of the way and I don't want to lose anymore."
His chance will come Friday. But fighting hasn’t come without a cost as Gore trains about six hours each day for his upcoming fight.
"The training has been tough. I train twice a day, three hours at a time,” Gore said. “I bike to the gym every day, which is five miles from my house. When I leave there, I bike to my other gym and then back to my house. It's been intense and six hours of training a day has left my body sore, but I've been able to rest up. I feel great and ready to go."
Hall said a lot of people in the Grand Strand area were against MMA when he first started Warfare, but has quickly seen support grow for the sport.
“Because of the popularity of the sport, there are some other companies that put on fights here, but we’re the only local company,” Hall said. “When we first started this whole thing, people fought it. We’ve beat down the door far enough to make them pay attention to what’s going on here.
“ …We do these events four or five times a year and it could bring a big impact to this area because while these people here, they spend money. This is the fastest growing sport and it has a long way to go.”