History of MMA in United States: Delaware

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This is the eighth of a 50 part series documenting the history and the current state of MMA for each of the 50 states in the United States of America. Each part will chronicle the history of MMA as well as several notable fighters and camps in each state. States will be completed in alphabetical order. This is the history of Delaware MMA. Be sure to check out the previous part on Connecticut.

History of Delaware MMA

Delaware, the first state to join the Union, is the 45th in population making it hard for Delaware to sweep the MMA scene off of its feet. The state has yet to host a UFC or Bellator event within its state’s borders. Stellar Fights, staffed by the only promoter in the state Brad Dalton, is very successful within Delaware. It is also the first state to make waves with the newest lifting of the ban on sports betting.

The Commission and Gaming

The Division of Professional Regulation is responsible for sanctioning bouts within Delaware. The advisory board consists of seven members. Being Delaware does not have a boxing/combat sports commission, if an event is to take part within the state, The Division of Professional Regulation will assign a neighboring agent to help sanctioning. Professional Regulation is more-so an organizational committee for combat sports and boxing. In essence, Delaware is similar to Alaska in that there is no official sanctioning body, but does have some sort of committee in place.

The First to the Table on the Gaming Laws Ban Lift

The first state of the Union was also the first state to race to the gaming screens after a recent federal ban lifted stating that each state can control if their state participates in sports betting. Preliminary reports are showing that the state has made over $1 million dollars in revenue in the first week alone. During this timeframe, nearly 70,000 sports bets were placed. Most of those bets were on Major League Baseball and horse racing. It will be interesting to see how UFC 226, held this past Saturday, July 07, 2018 did as Delaware’s first MMA betting event.

Stellar Fights All Alone in Delaware

Stellar Fights is the only MMA organization within Delaware. At the age of 23, Brad Dalton founded the organization. After training in multiple forms of combat he decided to create his own promotion in the state where an organization was truly needed.

November 2010 was the founding date of Stellar Fights. Typically hosts about four events a year. Their most recent event was Stellar Fights 37 which took place May 19, 2018. Jason Brown defeated Jay Ellis by first-round submission in the event’s main event. Brown is also set to appear at the company’s next event on August 25, 2018. The main event is set for the vacant lightweight title between Hopeton Stewart and Piankhi Zimmerman. So far there are three other title fights, all in the amateur ranks.

Fighters and Camps In/From Delaware

Din Thomas is by far arguably one of the best sports athletes to ever come from Delaware. He moved away in his early teen years to the state of Florida. The current coach at American Top Team never competed in the state professionally. Thomas was born in Wilmington, which is the state’s most populated city. Thomas earned a professional record of 26-9 earning wins over big stars. Some of those include Jens Pulver, Jeremy Stephens, Clay Guida, and the recently inducted UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra.

302 BJJ is one of the largest gyms in the state. “Wild Bill” Walters is the founder of the gym and earned his black belt in 2009. Former CFFC middleweight champion and current UFC fighter, Tim “South Jersey Strangler” Williams is also a coach at the gym. Williams will take on Eryk Anders in his second UFC bout at UFC Fight Night 135: Gaethje vs. Vick.

Part nine of the 50 states series will be the state of Florida. Check back with MMASucka to keep up with the series.

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Matt's love and passion for martial arts began at the age of four with Taekwondo. Matt later trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while serving nearly ten years in law enforcement. Matt has just recently discovered his passion of writing on mixed martial arts.

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