Scrappy Kid is confident

JOHN SHORT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

A 20-year-old athlete with a bright future in mixed martial arts laughed out loud at the suggestion that his sport is nothing more than a glorified street scrap.

"I don't like getting hit," said 170-pound Ryan (Kid) McGillivray, who's scheduled for a three-round class with equally promising Kyle Ayotte on Unplugged 3, a Maximum Fighting Championship show tonight at the Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe.

"I also don't like hurting people and I've only been in one street fight in my life," the young scrapper continued, "but there is nothing truer than this sport, when one guy fights another to see who is better that day."

To McGillivray, active in sports at Duncan and Prince George, B.C., before he moved to Edmonton, there is nothing new in statements that mixed martial arts somehow fails to qualify as a sport.

"I played hockey at a pretty good (age-class) level," he said. "I was being offered scholarships to play lacrosse when I was 16, but then I got hit from behind and never played again."

The impact compressed his spine and left him in hospital for months. McGillivray went out of his way to avoid seeking sympathy over the injury.

"My weight got up to 260 pounds and that was only a year and a half ago," he said. "Now, this is my full-time deal. I train two or three times a day and I train five days a week. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it."

His bout tonight - three five-minute rounds - follows three easy victories. "I won twice by knockout in the first round and in the other bout I won with a minute and a half left in the third round. I don't expect this one to go the full distance, either."

Part of McGillivray's confidence comes from the knowledge that he is learning from the best: Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald works with him regularly.

"Jason's the absolute best; he's signed for a big fight in Belfast, Ireland," said promoter Mark Pavelich, who has worked closely with MacDonald throughout his career.

The main event of the 10-bout card features Scott Junk of Hawaii against Dominic Richard of Vancouver. Junk stepped off the plane from his home wearing only shorts and a light hooded top. "You can imagine with Hawaiians," Pavelich grinned. "He's spending a lot of time in the hotel because of the weather but he's ready to fight."

Also preparing for an imporrtant step is Ryan Jimmo, the 2001 Pan-American Games silver medallist and four-time Canadian champ in judo. He lost his maximum fighting debut to Edmonton Eskimo lineman Adam Braidwood and hopes to atone for the loss tonight when he tangles with Dwayne Lewis.

The scheduled start time is 7:30 p.m.


Videos

Photos