Canadian MMA is on the rise, and in the province of British Columbia, Rise FC plays a big part in the movement. On April 13 the promotion held their third show in Chilliwack, B.C., with a very solid fight card. In the main event, Rise FC had Sabah Fadai fighting D’Juan Owens, while in the co-main event, they had a champ vs champ matchup in Craig MacLean vs Chad Anheliger.
Ultimately, Owens won by decision while Anheliger knocked out MacLean to become the champ-champ at flyweight and bantamweight.
The card also saw some interesting fights and top Canadian prospects compete such as Jamie Siraj. For Darcy McBride, who was the Rise FC 3 matchmaker and commentator, this is exactly what he wanted.
“Originally speaking, when I first took the opportunity to do the matchmaking. I looked at it like this, if I was a paying fan what would I want to come see,” McBride said. “Also, as a commentator, what fights would I want to call. I put it together as a hybrid of those two ideas. What we ended up with was a fight card that delivered from the opening match from the history match of combat jiu-jitsu, and then all the prelim bouts and then the main card. It was unreal. It was exactly what we wanted. We had remarks from several coaches, and all the athletes, it was a success man.”
The fight that many fans were talking about was the co-main event, as it was a true Canadian MMA superfight. The flyweight champion was moving up to take on the bantamweight champion. For McBride, this is what he wanted to do when he took over as the matchmaker.
“Yeah, so we had the fight out of the gate when Sabah and I both spoke in December. We crowned a couple of champs, what should we do with them,” he explained. “So when I talked to both them, Craig said he is down for whatever, Chad said he would defend his belt at 125, but if the right fight came up at 135 then I would be interested in that. So I decided what happens if we do a champ vs champ fight and they both agreed to the fight. Before I had noticed it, we had done something historic. We put on the first true superfight, definitely the first in BC history and maybe the first in Canadian history. We got the chance to set some history.”
Now, after a successful event, the focus switches to Rise FC 4, where they will be hitting the road to Victoria, instead of the usual Chilliwack. Why they want to expand in the province is quite simple.
“Yeah, July 27 we are close to booking a venue. But, July 27, Victoria is a go,” McBride revealed. “This is important for me for a number of reasons. MMA on the island has been sparse. What we are going to do is re-light that fire of mixed martial arts. We are going to highlight the islands top fighters, and they will be defending home turf. That is what the business model will be. When we start to go to different cities, where maybe they are champions like Chad Anheliger we may head to Calgary. We want to take this show on the road.”
In the end, Rise FC continues to make historic marks in Canadian MMA. They have a 165-pound, 175-pound divisions. And, at Rise FC 3 they held a combat jiu-jitsu match which was historic on its own right. Ultimately, the promotion is making waves in Canadian MMA, and that is exactly what McBride is hoping for.
“We want to have respect on an international level,” he concluded.