Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms --
Combat Center personnel were treated with a show of live fights June 22, including a main event where a Marine veteran took on an Army veteran during Mixed Martial Arts Fight Night 3 at Felix Field.
Hundreds of attendees witnessed nine MMA matches filled with blood, sweat and tears.
The fights were brought to the base by the Xplode Fight Series, which showcased the fighters’ skills and athleticism.
“It’s an honor to have our fighters here and to give the troops a show,” said Gregg Sharp, CEO, A2M Entertainment. “We brought out the best fighters for this event because the Marines deserve it.”
Eighteen fighters came to show their prowess in the octagon, which was built on top of Felix Field.
The competitors did not disappoint hardcore fans of MMA.
The fighters brought their A-game, giving the audience a series of intense matches back-to-back. The crowds cheered after every strike and blow. Many of the bouts ended in a knock-out or the referee calling the match.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Sharp said. “It gets us out of a commercialized setting, and bringing the fights out to the troops is a good thing for us.”
Two of the fighters were service-disabled veterans fighting in the Main Event for the Xplode Fight Series Featherweight title belt. Shane Kruchten, a Marine combat veteran, challenged Jason Micnuc, Army combat veteran, for the title.
“I’d never thought I’d be back here fighting and have a 14-foot poster of me at the front gate,” said Kruchten, a Oshkosh, Wis., native. “The last time I was training here was for my work up for Iraq in 2004.”
Kruchten served with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was medically separated in 2005.
Many of the fighters thanked everyone for coming and they placed great emphasis on thanking the Marines for their sacrifice protecting this country.
Fans cheered loudly when the announcer introduced Krutchen as a Marine. Krutchen dedicated his fight to the Marines and to those who had given their lives in combat.
“It means a lot to me that I’m fighting in front of brothers,” Kruchten said. “The Marines are a big reason why I fight. I fight for all my friends who never made it home.”
Kruchten donated his winnings to charities that help wounded and disabled veterans.
The crowds cheered Kruchten on as his match that went the distance with three rounds. Punch after punch, takedown after takedown, the Marines willed Kruchten on. After the final bell, the judges’ scorecards were in and Felix Field erupted when Kruchten was announced the winner.