Yesterday evening SteelFist made an early announcement on a Sept. 16 Salt Lake City pro MMA bout. Undefeated John Valentine meets another veteran, Rowdy Akers. Valentine, 46, now lives in Las Vegas but used to reside locally and is the female matchmaker for SteelFist. Akers, 42, trains out of One Hit MMA in Layton. Both fighters plan this to be their final pro MMA bout.. It is being advertised as a "Dual Retirement Fight."
I plan to interview both as fight date draws near but I did chat with Valentine earlier this week and he offered reasons for ending his pro career. He said this, which was also published earlier on social media):
Recently I sat on the mats and I watched my children who at a young age have accomplished so much such as judo and Grappling state titles and recently securing National Ju Jitsu titles. I asked myself how far they would be with even more coaching, more effort from me their father and coach. Answer: a lot
As a result I made the easiest decision in my life. I wanted to let you know that while I feel I have another 10 years of fighting in me that for my family I decided to take one last fight (I will still do my Ju Jitsu superfights and tourneys) bit I have nothing more to prove. My goal is to retire undefeated and I am working towards that.
Valentine has high praise for Akers, calling him a strong competitor (the bout will be at 150 pounds). He says he will be at his best and expects his opponent will also be at his best.
He's grateful for all the support SteelFist has provided him over the years, calling it a fitting location for a final bout. Pat, Kevin, Brady, Troy and the crew have been like family and I am grateful for this opportunity, he said.
Akers, as mentioned, represents One Hit MMA. Valentine represents Team Zenith and Robert Drysdale. We will have original interviews with both competitors as the date draws near. We're big fans of both these competitors and will miss seeing them in the pro cage. They have condusted themselves as strong professionals with integrity and are worthy of the respect this final bout provides. Here is SteelFist's website.
Garcia and Denniston to be interviewed
Next week we will be interviewing MMA pros AJ Garcia and Troy Dennison, who will be facing off in a pro bout July 28 at the SteelFist card in SLC.
Edminister to fight in Idaho
Another note: Bryce Edminister, an amateur MMA fighter with The Garage gym, has signed to fight Aug. 18 in Boise, Idaho, as part of the Front Street Fights card that night. According to his Facebook page, Bryce will fight Kellen VanCamp, of Kentucky.
Finally, next week we'll keep an eye on Junior National Golden Gloves in Mesquite, Nevada and let you know how locals do.