By Gordon Voit
This may just be the biggest week Chris LaTray’s life. On Saturday the 29-year-old heavyweight from Anaconda will fight for his first ever title belt at the annual Butte Brawl, a FightForce mixed martial arts event held at the Butte Civic Center.
“I’m pretty stoked,” said LaTray, who enters Saturday with a 4-1 career record, “pretty excited. I’ve put in a lot of work to get to this point of my career, really happy to get such an opportunity.”
Chris Eamon has been coaching martial arts in Montana for more than 30 years. He’s been working with LaTray at Anaconda’s Goosetown Racquet and Health Club leading up to Saturday’s fight
“Just a super dedicated, hard-working kid,” Eamon said of LaTray. “He’s not a mean, angry guy, he just loves to train and just a pleasure to work with.”
Chris might be a nice guy outside the octagon, but so is David Banner before he turns into the Incredible Hulk. When that bell dings, you’ve got 245 pounds of chiseled, angry muscle beating down on you.
That’s why it’s funny that Chris is the “littler guy” in his fight on Saturday. Bozeman’s David Gates tips the scales at 265 pounds.
LaTray might be 20 pounds lighter than Gates, but what he does have is quickness, and nowhere is that more evident than on the speed bag.
“Generally the lighter person is faster,” LaTray said, “but the bigger guy might be a lot stronger, so that might be one of the disadvantages I have being a little bit smaller than him.”
Humility and furious preparation: That’s not a bad combo for a first-time title fighter.
The Butte Brawl begins at 7 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center.