November 3, 2007
‘Gun Fu’ master fights for Ontario
By JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Sun Media
There was a time Ken Kupsch was more at home looking through the sights of a six-shooter than through links in a cage.
The president of King of the Cage Canada, who is also an expert marksman with numerous international awards, has learned to make room for both passions.
As the top dog of the Canadian chapter of the fight club that helped launch the careers of UFC light-heavyweight champ Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Diego ‘Nightmare’ Sanchez among others, Kupsch says he feels an obligation to top level fights.
The man who jokingly calls himself a ‘Gun Fu’ master is proud that he’s been able to take his carnival of carnage from coast-to-coast.
"I have a fight two weeks from now in Nanaimo B.C. and December 15 we’re in Moncton New Brunswick," says the Edmontonian, as he prepared for tonight’s Battlescar event in Calgary.
But one place King of the Cage — or any other legitimate fight club — has failed to penetrate is Ontario.
Canada’s most populace province is one of the last holdouts in legalizing the sport that has grown to rival boxing with fight fans.
"They have some fights on the reserves now but that’s about it," says Kupsch who’s been at the head of King of the Cage Canada for the past two-and-a-half years.
Fight fans in Ontario are being forced out of province to see live events, he says.
"We’ve done some fights in Gatineau, Quebec, which is just outside of Ottawa," says Kupsch.
"So the Ottawa market comes across the river to watch the fights.
"We’ve had good crowds there."
The battle to bring Ontario aboard has been fought at the highest levels, with UFC sanctioning boss Marc Ratner and UFC president Dana White making personal pitches.
Ontario athletic commissioner Ken Hayashi has remained strong in his opposition to the sport.
He says he’d like to see mixed-martial arts build up a proven safety record in the province as an amateur sport before giving the green light to the pros.
This despite a wealth of Ontario based professionals who have become household names with fight fans.
Sam Stout and Mark Homenick are both TKO and UFC fighters based in London, Ont. and Toronto native Carlos Newton was once the UFC’s welterweight champ.
Kupsch says it’s only a matter of time before Ontario comes around.
"I’m not really sure if it’s the government or what it is," he says.
"But MMA is here to stay so they may as well get with the program."
The non pay-per-view part of the card will feature Chris Lytle against Thiago Alves; Joe Lauzon vs. Jason Reinhardt; Marcus Aurelio vs. Luke Caudillo and Akihiro Gono vs. Tamdan McCrory.
For the latest in mixed-martial-arts news log on to The Scrapyard blog at www.calgarysun.com