Cayman’s mixed martial arts fans
are increasingly excited about the visit of another UFC star, Frank Mir, next
month, excited by the prospect of meeting the two-time heavyweight champion,
attending two clinics and having a one to one with him at the Hard Rock Cafe.
UFC lightweight star Kenny Florian
was here in June and that was a complete success. Mir is an even bigger name
and so impressed was he from what he heard from Florian and UFC boxing
instructor Peter Welch, that he is bringing his whole family to enjoy Cayman’s
delights. Mir’s clinics are on 16 October and then he meets and greets fans at
the Hard Rock that night. It is all promoted by karate instructor Bob Daigle
who wants to make Cayman the MMA centre of the Caribbean.
Before the fun can begin though,
Mir, 31 takes on the fearsome Croatian Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic on UFC 119 in
Indianapolis on 25 September. Assuming he is victorious and relatively injury
free, Mir’s visit will be an epic one for many mixed martial arts fans,
particularly Kerri Kanuga, a RE/MAX realtor who is passionate about all forms
of martial arts. “I have always been interested in martial arts, but only
started practicing about 10 years ago,” she says. “I started with kick boxing
in Canada and began training in more traditional forms when I moved to Bermuda.
I have practiced many different forms of martial arts including karate (green),
Japanese jujitsu (orange), taekwondo (yellow), judo (not ranked Ivan wiped out
Master Steve Graham’s school and the instructor left the island prior to
testing) and even tai chi.
“My favourite is definitely
jujitsu. I will never punch or kick as hard as many of the men I train with,
but when I practice joint locks and submissions. It is about technique, size
does not necessarily matter. When my husband (karate black belt David Reid)
first introduced me to the UFC I thought it was a blood sport, but after practicing
many different forms of martial arts I now understand the techniques and can
see the offensive and defensive strategies and training that go into a fight.
Injuries are very rare when you have two fighters that are evenly matched.”
Kaguna has attended seven UFC
sanctioned events. She first met Mir at UFC49 in 2004 when Randy Couture, her
hero, beat Vitor Belfort. Mir allowed her to pose with his championship belt.
“This was a few years before MMA became mainstream so it was much easier to
meet and have access to the fighters.
“Bob Daigle has worked very hard in
promoting MMA on the island and promoting Cayman to the MMA world. I think having
a world class athlete such as Mir visit Cayman will help to attract publicity
to our shores. It is always a thrill to meet a professional athlete at the top
of their sport.
“I attended both of the Florian
clinics and found them useful. The clinics were applicable to all levels,
beginners to black belts all took tips away. Kenny was very personable and
accessible he freely gave advice and seemed to really enjoy himself too. I
think MMA can do extremely well in Cayman. After seeing a few matches I cannot
imagine how any boxing fan would not be converted. It seems that more and more
athletes are starting to become more rounded and MMA gives them the opportunity
to not only practice with their brawn, but their brains too.”