TWO University of Chester students will make their Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debuts this Saturday, November 29.
Justin Whittle and Jamie Wylor-Owen, history and ecology students respectively, step into the cage for the first time at an event known as Beyond the Cage in Pudsey, West Yorkshire.
The event features bouts taking place under various sets of rules but the pair’s fights are to be contested under Amateur ‘C Class’ rules, which means any strike to the head is illegal.
Both men are members of the University of Chester’s MMA club, in which they train the various disciplines involved in the sport under the tutelage of two sports science graduates who founded the club and also fought on various occasions throughout their degree.
Wylor-Owen’s fighting roots come from spending seven years practicing Judo, a vital element in the sport, while younger.
“I want to test myself against fighters from outside my club to see how I compare in the wider picture.
“I practice the sport because I enjoy it. Improving my fitness, technical and combative skills, and becoming more confident in my ability to defend myself are all advantages,” he said.
Whittle not only sees the physical benefits of the sport, but also the mental benefits. He said: “It definitely helps with confidence and social skills.”
Wylor-Owen echoed Whittle’s sentiments. “You are given the opportunity to meet new people, socialise and make friends,” he added.
The sport is often referred to as ‘cage fighting’ by the mass media and by people uneducated as to what the sport involves. Whittle said: “Rather than believing what the media say, just try it. It’s easy to to look from the outside at something and form an opinion it without actually trying it. So just give it a go.”
The event takes place at 7pm, Saturday November 29 at Trinity Chapel in Pudsey, West Yorkshire.