History of MMA in United States: Kansas

Kansas MMA
Tim Elliot and UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson face off during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Benavidez vs Team Cejudo at the UFC TUF Gym on August 10, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is the 16th of a 50 part series documenting the history and 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 Kansas MMA. Be sure to check out the previous part on Iowa.

History of Kansas MMA

The 34th state of the Union, Kansas, has provided the world of MMA with a few solid names and hosted many Bellator events in its time. The state as yet to host a UFC event. Kansas may not have many memorable moments to contribute to the MMA world, but Kansas was the home of Invicta Fighting Championships hosting its first four events.

Kansas Athletic Commission

The Kansas Athletic Commission, under the Kansas Department of Commerce, is responsible and sanctions all MMA bouts within the state. The commission consists of five members, with one being a medical professional. Kansas has one of the best commission websites and makes it very easy for fighters and promoters to know what they need to compete within the state.

Lingerie Fighting Championships conducted LFC23: Guilty Pleasures on July 08, 2017 in Kansas City, KS. After the event, state regulators banned LFC from returning stating the fighters were, “dressed too provocatively.” The main event featured Monica “Flowerbomb” Garcia winning by unanimous decision over Shay “The Fox” Mazzato.

 

Major Organizations Visit The Sunflower State

Though the UFC has yet to make an appearance in Kansas, Bellator has made eight appearances. Kansas has also hosted several of the initial Invicta FC events and the one event from Lingerie Fighting Championships before their ban by the state commission.

Bellator’s First Visit to Kansas

Bellator 56, which took place on October 29, 2011, featured a title fight main event and the semi-finals of the heavyweight tournament. Undefeated welterweight king, Ben Askren, defeated Jay Hieron by split decision to retain his title. After an injury forced two semi-finalists out, Thiago Santos and Neil Grove were thrust into the co-main event spot with Santos winning by submission. Santos earned his spot in the finals to take on Eric Prindle who won by first round KO.

The Most Recent Kansas Visit by Bellator

Bellator’s most recent invasion of Kansas took place in January 2017 at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, KS. Bellator 171: Guillard vs. Njokuani featured a catchweight main event with Chidi Njokuani and Melvin Guillard. Home state fighter and Bellator legend, David Rickels, defeated Aaron Derrow by TKO in the third round. Njokuani took the dominant unanimous decision in the main event earning a 30-24 on one judge’s scorecard.

Fighters and Camps From/In Kansas

The state of Kansas has contributed some solid fighters to MMA. Arguably the most popular are David Rickels and Tim Elliott. The state is also home to some solid BJJ schools and MMA camps such as American Top Team-KC.

“The Caveman” of Kansas

The former Bellator season eight lightweight tournament champion, David Rickels, was born and raised in Kansas. Aside from his crowd-pleasing entrances, Rickels has been with Bellator since April 2011 earning a record of 13-5-1. Though with five losses, they are to such fighters at Michael “Venom” Page, Michael Chandler twice, and Patricky Freire. Among MMA fans, Rickels will always be a crowd favorite.

Kansas’ TUF Winner

The Ultimate Fighter Tournament of Champions winner, Tim Elliott, took the pound for pound greatest fighter, Demetrious Johnson, to five rounds in December 2016. Elliott’s first stint in the UFC saw him collect a record of 2-4 before being cut. He would go on to win three in a row with Titan FC. Elliott was the inaugural Titan FC flyweight champion, winning in his debut fight against Iliarde Santos. Therefore he would go on to defend the title against Felipe Efrain and Pedro Nobre. Elliott would earn a second shot at the UFC. After his decision loss to Johnson, Elliott won two of his next three bouts with his last contest earning him performance of the night.

The Outstretched Arm of American Top Team

American Top Team has reaches all over the world, even in the state of Kansas. American Top Team-KC is located in Lenexa, KS. PFL’s Jason High and Bellator veteran L.C. Davis the ATT branch. Both High and Davis have 20 plus career professional wins each.

Part 17 of the 50 states series will be the state of Kentucky. Check back with MMASucka to keep up with the series.

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