The fastest growing sport worldwide, mixed martial arts (MMA), is running strong in Barranquilla and this Saturday, June 4th, there will be a battle with five fights to be held at Crisby Saloon. The main fight of the night will be between Harold Andrade from Cartagena and Jefferson Urrea from Barrancabermeja, each of whom will be disputing the Amateur Featherweight category.
The event, promoted by Cuna de Guerreros, will start after 7 p.m., and there will be a minimum of five fighters from Barranquilla, and another five from across the rest of the country. The ticket prices are 30.000 COP, and they are on sale at Crisby’s entrance, on Calle 43 #26-83. This will be the tenth combat night since the organization opened its doors in 2011.
MMA competition fighting began in Barranquilla five years ago when entrepreneurs Jair Rojas and Carlos Perez decided to organize Amateur events that could prepare local prospects in their transition to the professionals. They founded Cuna de Guerreros (CDG), and in no time at all, the society had expanded to include fighters from across the country who wanted to have an official record of their battles. Besides Atlántico, the athletes who have participated with CDG primarily come from Bogotá, Norte de Santander, Cartagena, and Valledupar.
Since their original purpose was building an Amateur calendar, they have had a lot of trouble finding people who could help them grow. The press hasn’t been very interested and neither have the typical sponsors, so they have had to build the organization with the aid of social media and the fighters themselves. Despite all this, they have managed to grow a lot in five years. That first night long ago they had only 80 people in the audience but nowadays they regularly see over 400.
They’ve nevertheless found a few sponsors and they can certainly count on Barranquilla Life for media support. Soon, they will have fighters from other nations coming to compete and they are looking at new venues to host events. Jair Rojas, a Cuna de Guerreros co-founder, stated that these events were developed in part to help teenagers build their careers intelligently. “We’ve seen many cases where a kid with only two Amateur fights moves to pro much to quickly and once there, enters a cruel reality. Our primary goal is that these kids build their skills using a longer process that later can lead them to be mocompetitive internationally”, he said.
CDG is also thinking about doing their first semiprofessional combat night in Barranquilla on August 5th. They are planning to include Arturo Cortina, the best MMA fighter in Atlantico, who represented the organization in an international championship in Venezuela, fighting against the 2nd best fighter, Luis Veililla. Unfortunately to confirm this soiree, they still need that this last one proves his value with a win this Saturday.
Rojas hopes that with their hard work, the big, professional MMA organizations such as UFC, Bellator, or Arena Tour will finally turn their eyes to Colombia, “They haven’t done it yet because we don’t have the level required. Slowly, some Colombians appear in those competitions, but those are people who started outside the country and have had 15 to 20 years of training”. He expressed that there is still a lot of groundwork and diffusion to do. “In Brazil, the kids start practicing this discipline when they are seven, whereas here in Barranquilla we have 14 year-olds who want to punch and kick, but don’t know how. We’ve been working here for barely five years and it’s our job to change that,” he said.
This weekend action will start on Friday at noon with a weigh-in ceremony at the Girasol Hotel. There, both press and public will be able to speak with the fighters and get the first glimpse of what’s going to happen on Saturday.