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MMA to make SCV debut

First sanctioned event in area to take place on Saturday

Posted: June 17, 2011 3:39 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2011 3:39 p.m.

Fight Academy Canyon Country owner David Dunn remembers the days when it was illegal to hold mixed martial arts events in the Santa Clarita Valley and the rest of California.

He remembers masking them as karate tournaments, and he remembers dealing with the fallout.

No need to worry about that anymore.

Dunn will be putting on the first locally hosted, California-sanctioned amateur MMA event on Saturday at Santa Clarita Studios.

A portion of the proceeds will go the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer.

SCV Fight Night 1: King of the Valley will feature 10 amateur bouts sanctioned by the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization (CAMO). CAMO has “exclusive authority to regulate amateur mixed martial and Pankration in the state of California” as delegated by the California State Athletic Commission on August 24. 2009, according to CAMO’s official website.

The organization did not exist when Dunn began instructing and promoting the sport in the late 1990s.

“At the time, there was no sanctioning body, so we just did what we could do, and we kept it as low-key as we could keep it,” he said.

“It’s been a lot of fun watching the sport grow. The first time I took a fighter to the cage, we went to Mexico for a pro event eight years ago or so. He came back with $200 in his pocket.”

MMA became legal in California on Dec. 28, 2005, and since then, Dunn has watched the sport becoming increasingly more popular, both locally and nationally.

“My goal is to create an event that has belt-holders in each of the weight classes and really brings something to Santa Clarita that is professional and high-end, is an event they can count on and count on to be good, fair fights,” he said. “I don’t know that Santa Clarita has done anything so exciting.”

The SCV will make up a large cross-section of the card.

Lightweights Eddie Diaz, 22, and Carlos Oviedo, 25, of Canyon Country, will represent Fight Academy at the event, as will welterweight Brian Pertrillo, 28, of Valencia.

Valencia resident Jim Johnson, who won the CAMO State Championship Tournament at heavyweight on Dec. 5 with a first-round knockout, is also scheduled to fight on Saturday. Johnson fights out of Valencia-based Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy.

Bantamweight Devin Suttles, 25, of Valencia, rounds out the local fighters. Suttles trains at American Taekwondo Association (ATA) Stevenson Ranch.

“I wanted it to be us versus them, the fighters from the SCV fighting guys from the outside,” said Dunn, who is also a co-owner of Fight Academy Pasadena.

The first fight is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. with the weigh-ins set for 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at or by visiting Fight Academy in Canyon Country.


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