FREDERICKTOWN — It takes months of training to step into the cage and face your first opponent in the world of mixed martial arts. It takes years of sacrifice to become good.
When Saturday’s Trail City 4x4 Extreme Adrenaline Championship MMA Event gets underway at the old high school in Fredericktown, one local young man will enter the chain-link enclosure only having signed up to fight last Friday.
When 19-year-old Mount Vernon resident Kyle Horner squares off with Chris Healy, it will be the first time each has fought as an amateur. Healy has trained for a long time for this opportunity. Horner, on the other hand, had no idea that he would be fighting until a spot opened up on the fight card last week.
“Actually, a buddy of mine contacted me, saying that there was an opening for 170 (pounds),” said Horner. “I told him that I was his man.”
An ensuing phone call, followed by a meeting with fight promoter and organizer Roger Moran at Jake’s Restaurant last Friday night, and suddenly Horner had his name on his very first amateur fight contract.
“That guy has so much heart,” said Moran. “I’ve been in this thing for six or seven years and there’s not many experienced guys that will do this on a last-second notice, let alone a guy who has never done it before.”
Horner jumped at the opportunity with no hesitation.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” he said. “It wasn’t a hard decision for me.”
Horner is not just some street brawler, fighting on a dare to prove his manhood. He brings experience and one very important skill into the cage — he’s a wrestler. Many local fans may remember that he wrestled for Mount Vernon High School from 2009 to 2012. As a member of the varsity, he was a district qualifier three times.
Once he inked the contract, Horner sought out local fight instructor Dave Lashley for advice and support.
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