Kelowna is slowly becoming known for producing top level mixed martial artists.
First Rory MacDonald took the UFC by storm and is widely recognized as a rising threat in the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
Then female fighter Sarah Moras emerged to become recognized as someone to watch in the fledgling sport of female MMA.
Now, at just 20-years-of-age, Kelowna’s Mike Hill is making his name known in the world of mixed martial arts as a competitor on the 16th season of the UFC’s highly popular Ultimate Fighter TV series, airing Friday nights on Sportsnet in Canada.
MacDonald, Moras and Hill all train out of Kelowna’s Toshido MMA.
“It’s really unbelievable that we have another fighter involved in the UFC,” said Toshido MMA owner and head coach David Lea. “There are literally thousands of professional fighters from around the world trying to get signed by the UFC. It’s a real feather in our cap to have two guys from our local club in the UFC. Mike Hill had the least amount of experience going into the (Ultimate Fighter) but nobody out there was going to outwork him.”
The Ultimate Fighter pits 16 mixed martial artists living together and competing in a tournament with a contract for the UFC on the line.
Hill applied to take part in the Ultimate Fighter after building a 4-0 MMA record in two years of training with Toshiod MMA. To get accepted the Kelowna fighter went through a lengthy tryout period along with hundreds of other applicants for the chance to live in what’s know as the TUF House, in Las vegas, where the show was filmed.
To advance to the final 16, Hill fought Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Lev Magen of Las Vegas, beating him by way of a first round knock-out to become one of the 16 fighters in the house.
“I’m extremely proud of his accomplishments,” stated Lea.
For Hill’s part, with filming of the TV series completed, he has returned to Kelowna to continue training. He can’t speak about the results of the show as it is ongoing but on the Ultimate Fighter web site, Hill says he loves the sport of MMA and getting into the ring for combat.
“All I know how to do is fight,” said Hill. “I love to fight. I love to train. You can’t break me, and to stop me you’ll have to knock me out and send me home on my shield. I’m always having fun, and I want to train and fight for a living. There is nobody that can stop me from reaching my goal.”
The Ultimate Fighter appears on Sportsnet on Friday nights and you can find out more about the series online at www.ultimatefighter.com