Throwin’ down in Bridgetown

Mixed martial arts is a term that was coined in 1995, and Portland’s MMA scene has developed well in the 15 years since.

Mixed martial arts is a term that was coined in 1995, and Portland’s MMA scene has developed well in the 15 years since.

Fighters utilize a blend of tactics and techniques, both striking one another from a standing position and grappling while standing or on the ground. Bouts are full contact and end upon knockout, fighter submission or judge’s decision after a set time elapses, meaning many bouts start with a striking stage before transitioning into a wrestling stage in which fighters attempt to force their opponent to tap out.

The Full Contact Fighting Federation has hosted more than 230 bouts, according to its website, Among other events in and around Portland, they host an ongoing series of bouts dubbed Rumble at the Roseland, with the 51st installment scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Roseland Theater.

Kevin Keeney, co-owner and match maker for the FCFF, said that for Rumble at the Roseland 51, tickets are still available at the door, which opens at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $29 for general admission and range up to $59 for reserved seating, both on the main floor and the balcony. Bouts will begin at 7 p.m.

This Saturday will feature four championship bouts in various weight classes, as well as a female bout between 125-lb. fighters Janna Piper of Touch M Up MMA and Maygen Sato from Rigby, Idaho. Both fighters’ official bouts have all been during Rumbles at the Roseland, and Piper’s official MMA record is 2-1-0 while Sato’s is 0-1-0, according to

The FCFF hosts championship bouts in five weight classes, and has slated defending lightweight champ Jake Morris (5′ 9″, 155 lbs.) to enter the ring Saturday for the first time in eight months, he said. He has spent his off time from MMA events training with Team Quest, a world-renowned fight club with gyms in Oregon and California.

He also wrestles at Clackamas Community College, after winning two state wrestling titles while attending Oregon City High School. He said as soon as he could legally fight in pro MMA bouts, he did—in fact, he turned 18 three days prior to his debut during Rumble at the Roseland 40 in December 2008. 

Morris currently boasts a 6-0 record in FCFF bouts and has twice defended his championship belt. He said he’s never fought upcoming opponent Clint Patterson (5’8″, 155 lbs.), of the fight club Alive MMA, but that he feels confident about the bout.

“I know he’s tough, but I feel good about this one,” Morris said. “His technique is solid and he’s pressing to try and take me down, but as long as I make it my fight, I’ll keep my belt.”

When asked about his status as a hometown hero, the West Linn native said he appreciates the fans—and particularly his training partners—involved with the local MMA scene. He also said he enjoys being on the MMA circuit and that despite its competitive nature, most of the fighters are friendly with one another outside the ring.

“Knowing people have high expectations for you, there’s a lot on your back and that makes you train hard every day, [and] knowing people are watching like that makes me go harder,” Morris said. “It’s a great sport. I know some people look at it and think, ‘Oh, they’re just a bunch of street fighters,’ but there definitely is an art to it and no one’s really mad at anyone. I think all one-on-one athletes are really competitive, and we all know that, but we all basically like each other.” ?

Tonight: Strikeforce Challengers visits PDX
Strikeforce Challengers is another major MMA event in town, scheduled for tonight at the Rose Garden with tickets still available starting at $25. It begins at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on Showtime live as part of their series ShoMMA, which features fighters on the rise.
The event will feature middleweight Matt Lindland, an Oregon native and former silver medalist Olympic wrestler who helped found Team Quest in 1999. He returns to the cage against Kevin Casey following back-to-back losses in his previous two MMA bouts. Four additional bouts are on the main card, alongside five undercard bouts.