Pro sports return to Kansas with boxing, MMA, and more

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ABILENE, Kan. (KSNT) – A night of first’s at the Never Surrender MMA Gym in Abilene, including the first live professional sporting event in Kansas since the start of the pandemic, and for the host city, first pro fight here in over 100 years, 101 to be exact.

The variety was on display tonight, with fighters coming over from tons of states in the midwest to make this happen all while promoters and health care professionals made sure to keep everyone safe with masks on at all times and temperature tests upon entrance. There were no fans in attendance, just competitors and trainers.

For local fighters, it was a unique opportunity to get back in the ring or octagon competitively for the first time in a while and resume doing what they love.

“It’s amazing, I’ve missed it so much the last couple of months. First, you don’t realize how much of a release, how much better you feel, just being a little physical, beating people up a little bit. It was great to get back, can’t wait to start training full time again. It’ll definitely help me ease some of the pandemic nerves,” Manhattan’s Brad Jepson said. Jepson won his bout in Jiu-Jitsu with a second-round TKO.

This was also the first-ever right with fiver different styles on the card between boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, MMA, and bare-knuckle. The 17 fight card had a little bit of everything. For the gym’s owner and co-promoter, the evening was great for the whole fighting community.

“Oh, it’s been great, especially combining all five combative sports for the first time in history, it just brings everyone together, all the genres of people, and we’re just trying to work together and bring the combative spirit back into people,” owner Samuel Kleinbeck said.

Co-promoter John Carden hopes to have the next fight as soon as July in Topeka, but it all depends on the revenue and stream results when they get those back from FITE.tv.

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