By Riley Manning
TUPELO – On Saturday, Summit Fighting Championships will host a night of Mixed Martial Arts action in Tupelo.
The Oxford-based promotion company is relatively new to the scene, but has steadily put on shows in Oxford and Southaven since December. Owner Jamie Houston said he’s had Tupelo in mind for an event for some time.
“The sport has gotten pretty popular pretty quick in the Northeast Mississippi area,” Houston said. “We tried to have a show here a few times this summer, but dates kept falling through, but we’re here now.”
This weekend’s event will be the first MMA card in Tupelo since 2009. Houston said around 10 fights will take place. More than half the lineup includes local athletes. Fighters Issac Ware of Tupelo, Ben Parrish of Pontotoc, Brian White of Pontotoc, and Grady Hurley of Tupelo are veterans of the cage looking to advance their records.
Undefeated at 5-0, Parrish will fight for the Light Heavyweight title at 205 pounds. He said training for the bout for the past three months has been tough, but performing at home has been a light at the end of the tunnel.
“All our fighters are talented, but hard work will beat talent that doesn’t work,” he said. “It’s exciting for everyone who’s been saying they want to see me fight to finally be able to. Come Saturday, I’m going to oblige them and keep the title in Tupelo.”
On the other hand, Mississippi Golden Glove boxing champion Nelson Browning, 18, of Tupelo, and Daniel Hankins, 17, of Nettleton, also with boxing experience, will attempt to convert their skills to the cage as they make their MMA debuts.
Houston said other competitors will come from Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
“As a former fighter myself, I know how to take care of the fighters and give the fans what they want,” Houston said. “There’s a lot of buzz about this fight, from people around Tupelo and the fighters.”
General admission tickets will cost $25, cageside tickets $45, and eight-seat VIP tables $500. Tickets are available through the fighters, or by calling (662) 213-6106. They may also be obtained through www.summitfighting.com.