The way Tyson Chartier saw it, fighters in New England had a problem. He’d seen it in action, both during his own fighting days and when he transitioned into management.
“I think there’s a lot of talent here in New England,” Chartier told MMAjunkie. “But what happens is, they just kill each other before they can get anywhere, and they do it for pennies on these local shows.”
Take what happened with Rob Font and Calvin Kattar, for instance. Here were two fighters from Massachusetts, both climbing up the ranks on the New England MMA scene at around the same time, and local promoters saw the potential to match them up against each other.
But Chartier managed both fighters, and he knew they both had their sights set on the UFC. He also knew that both were suffering from a common problem in New England MMA: a lack of elite training partners who could prepare them for the competition at the next level.
“We were both going back and forth as No. 1 and 2 in the region, so of course we wanted to fight each other,” Font said. “Tyson talked us out of it, and at first we didn’t see it his way. We wanted to fight. But he was right. He explained that we could get more out of training together than we could from fighting each other on a local show.”
Now Font (14-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Kattar (17-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) train together several times a week, along with UFC featherweight Kyle Bochniak. They all still officially represent different teams – Kattar comes from 617 Fight Sports, Font from New England MMA, and Bochniak (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) from Broadway Jiu-Jitsu – but they’ve formed a sort of informal alliance to help one another get the training and support they need.
At UFC 220 on Saturday, all three will get the chance to show their friends and families the fruits of that labor when the UFC visits Boston for the first time since 2016.
The hometown UFC event brings with it a different kind of pressure, but it helps that they’ve gotten the chance to prepare together with the same date in mind. According to Kattar, it also makes a difference to have other UFC fighters to work with – especially in New England, where many fighters cobble together their training from several different sources.
“You can’t be afraid to get in the car to go get your work in here,” Kattar said. “It helps to have someone right there with you, but it’s also getting that work with someone else who is there in the UFC with you, who knows what it takes, and who understands what you’re going through trying to get ready for that.”
That’s something a lot of fighters in the New England scene were missing, according to Chartier.
“It’s not like (American Top Team) where they have 50 UFC fighters on the mats every day,” Chartier said. “The goal was, let’s get these high-level guys in the same room training together and let them make each other better.”
Chartier was able to forge this alliance thanks to his work as the manager for all three, but it took cooperation from all the individual coaches to make it work.
“The thing is, you just can’t have egos,” Chartier said. “Everybody has to be able to work together and communicate, since that’s what’s best for the fighter.”
Bringing home the right results will be crucial this time out, not only because all three will be fighting in front of their home crowds, but also because two of them – Font and Bochniak – are coming into UFC 220 off losses.
Kattar, the one fighter with a win in his last outing, is looking to extend his overall winning streak to 10 fights, but he’ll get arguably his toughest test yet against unbeaten featherweight Shane Burgos (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on the main card at TD Garden.
Font faces bantamweight Thomas Almeida (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) on the opening bout of the pay-per-view portion, while Bochniak leads the trio against 145-pounder Brandon Davis (8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the FS1 prelims.
The latter is a role that Bochniak embraces, he said, in part because he knows what it will mean to his new friends and teammates.
“I’m going to go out first, and I’m going to set the tone,” Bochniak said. “When I come back to the locker room, smiling with my hands raised, then they’ll see me and they’ll know.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Alliance of necessity sends trio of New England fighters into battle together at UFC 220 in Boston