Forrest Griffin is one of the most recognizable faces in the UFC – and with good reason. Hall of famer, champion, first ever winner of The Ultimate Fighter, The Ultimate Fighter coach, actor, author, and all around affable guy. Even the most casual UFC fans know Forrest. I sat down with Forrest at Peter Welch’s Gym to talk about pretty much everything under the sun, but we’ll start with the UFC.
The UFC is back in New England! Tickets are now on sale for their August 16th fights in Bangor, Maine. The event is expected to sell out pretty quickly, so find a few friends, order some tickets, and make a weekend out of it. I say, “make a weekend out of it” because Bangor is a bit of a drive. UFC pres Dana White has a compound up in Maine, maybe if we tweet at him nicely (@danawhite) he’ll let us stay there? Please Dana, please?
Mixed martial arts has only been legal in Maine since 2011, and this will be the first UFC event in the state. History in the making! The main event will feature light heavyweights Ryan Bader and Ovince Saint Preux. Both fighters were standout college athletes (wrestling and football respectively) and they’re both riding current winning streaks, and according to Griffin, the fight could decide the “next big thing” in UFC. He thinks the bout could “determine one of the best 205-ers in the division,” and goes on to say, “One of the guys will come out a real contender.” And when Forrest Griffin says a fight will determine a major contender, you listen up. Griffin’s fight vs. Stephan Bonnar to be crowned (or belted, I guess) the winner of season one of The Ultimate Fighter has been largely credited with sparking the success of the UFC. Dana White himself has said the fight is the single most important fight in UFC history. So yeah, this guy knows a thing or twenty about breakout fights.
If the Darth Bader/OSP fight isn’t enough to pique your interest, maybe cheering on a hometown boy will do it? Lincolnville, Maine native Tim Boetsch takes on fellow middleweight Brad Tavares in one of the undercards, and no offense to Mr. Tavares, but I think most of the arena will be rooting for Boetsch. If you want to be one of those people (and I know you do), you can purchase tickets now on Ticketmaster, or that the Cross Insurance Center. You’ll see some great fights, and maybe even be lucky enough to meet Forrest Griffin, who as of right now, plans to go.
BTW did you know there probably wouldn’t even be a UFC without local Southie legend Peter Welch? Welch trained White right here in Southie back in the day. If he didn’t teach White how to really box, who knows where White and the UFC would be now? Welch has trained fighters on The Ultimate Fighter, and that expertise is available to all of us at his gym. If you haven’t checked out Peter Welch’s Gym yet, what are you waiting for? The first class is free, and I promise you’ll get your butt kicked, in the best possible way.