From staff reports
The Cage of Honor will make its third appearance in Joplin tonight when it presents 14 mixed martial arts fights at 7 in Missouri Southern's Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The vacant Cage of Honor Featherweight Championship will be up for grabs during the main event, which features Jacob Ritchie of Springfield and Jay Gould of St. Cloud, Minn.
"Both these guys are about ready to go pro," Cage of Honor President Brandon Shwin said. "Gould says if he wins the fight, he will go pro. In my opinion, both these guys, win or lose, could hold their weight at the pro level."
Cage of Honor, in its seventh month of existence and is based out of Nixa, Mo., also hosts events in Springfield and Poplar Bluff.
Despite the physical nature of the sport, Shwin emphasized his organization focuses on martial arts and not extreme violence.
"The thing about Cage of Honor is we want to stress to fans that we are here to revolutionize the sport," he said. "This is not a blood sport.
"There are very few guys around that can do what (the fighters) do. That and these (fighters) are some very nice human beings."
Cage of Honor Personnel Assistant Marty Hill said the event will be a half martial arts, half rock concert atmosphere.
"Production-wise, it's the best around," Hill said. "The energy level when you step inside and are a part of it is enough to lift you up."
Jabs: Shwin said he expects the event to return to Joplin in February or March and return four times a year. ... A majority of the fighters have full-time jobs away from the ring. ... Local fighters include Tony Key and Bill Burton, both of Joplin, Seneca's Tony Linders and Matt Miller, Carthage's Sidney Bruenn, Zac Whiteley of Miller and Ernest Freeman of Cassville.
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