Mixed Martial Arts fighting comes to Columbia

By Rick Henry - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - On Saturday, professional Mixed Martial Arts will be coming to the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia for Rage in the Cage.

The best way to describe what's going to happen at Rage in the Cage is that it's like watching a street fight, but if you're the guy getting beat up. There's nowhere to run.

For the first time in Columbia, professional Mixed Martial Arts will take place in a cage.

"With the cage, there's really no stopping," said Adam Ginsburg, a trainer at Stronghold Mixed Martial Arts in Northeast Columbia.

That's one reason MMA fighting appeals to so many people. "It's a really fast paced exciting sport," said Ginsburg. "Even someone who's not educated in the sport can watch it and appreciate it."

Ginsburg has had some so-called tough guys walk in off the street who quickly discover they're not MMA material.

"We've had a couple of guys in here lie about records and stuff, 'hey I'm 8-0,' and they come in and we're doing warmups and they're about to pass out," said Ginsburg. "Then you don't ever see 'em again."

Columbia's Paul Moreno is one of the amateurs who'll be fighting on Saturday. Paul wrestled in high school, but finds MMA much more demanding physically.

"It's a whole different world," said Moreno. "You come in here when you're done wrestling, you think it's going to be an easy transition. It's not, you get so much more tired."

Moreno's record is 1-0. His first fight was in a small venue in Camden.

"Some shed," he described. "I'm not exactly sure, a ring and a shed."

Now Paul will get to fight in front of thousands of people at the Colonial Life Arena.

"It's really exciting," he said. "I gotta keep my nerves down."

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