As we approach Cage Titans 35 and take a look at the fight card what stands out the most is not the diverse group of fighters being flown in from all over the country, not the fact that there's 20 fights on the card or even the much anticipated main event featuring Manny Bermudez. It's the showing of eleven fighters coming out of South Shore Sport Fighting.
This is not a showing of favoritism by promoter Mike Polvere. Whenever the fight card is stacked with SSSF fighters, frankly...they perform. Kelly and I recently took the trip to Norwell and met with owner Bill Mahoney and it was so obvious why there's so many ready and able fighters coming out of his gym; it's an old-school, dank and ruffled, rough and sodden, no-nonsense, real-deal Fight-Gym. Add to it the fact that there is so many active pro and ammy fighters, they are spawning a whole new breed of athletes. Something that's reminiscent of taking fundamental principals from legendary places like Cus D'Amato's and applying it to this fast-evolving sport. What's different now is the fact that it's not about the Alpha Male athletes that used to get all of the attention. It's about letting the whole gym grow organically. That's what is happening with these group of fighters.
On the surface anyone can look at Bill and get that unapproachable demeanor from him (Kelly had to beg him to smile for the above picture) but after talking to him one knows right away that that is totally not the case. He cares about his athletes and helping them grow and evolve in finding their paths in their future and current careers. Some have been there since they were kids.
"We were winning grappling tournaments shitty Gi's and all" Bill told me during our visit. In other words, you don't need the best equipment, state-of-the-art technology for your facility, the most expensive gloves and pads. What's important is attentive coaching, mats, stuff to sharpen skills and most of all camaraderie. When athletes can learn from each other then that old adage of "iron sharpens iron" takes hold and creates a serious arsenal.
We can't wait to see what the future holds for these guys. Click on the above pictures to stay up to date with some of them. We owe a big thanks to Bill Mahoney for taking the time to talk to us.
Happy Birthday Mike Dinella!