Valimaki making a fashion statement

GERRY MODDEJONGE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

The image of mixed-martial arts has grown along with the sport's popularity.

Fans stacked the stands at events with black t-shirts and toques that they see the fighters and their entourages walk down to the cage in.

But for Victor Valimaki, fighting is not just a passion, it's his business.

"That's the thing, I just want to take MMA -- not that I can do it myself -- but I want to take it to the next level," said the local light-heavyweight, who showed up to the pre-fight press conference earlier this week sporting a black suit.

"If you go to a basketball conference, everyone's wearing suits. If you see Georges St. Pierre he's wearing a suit.

"If it's a formal thing then I think you should dress up. Everyone I know wears their fight gear but I thought I'd try to be different for this one."

And he was. All the other fighters were in their typical gear.

"It's a business and it's a sport that's trying to get more respected," Valimaki said.

"Not everyone, but when a lot of guys look like thugs and act like thugs it doesn't do anything to help the sport out.

'RESPECTFUL'

"So if you can act respectful and dress up and look professional, I think it definitely helps."

Valimaki (16-5) put his TFC world light heavyweight title on the line last night against top Canadian contender Martin (The Stress) Desilets (9-2) in the co-main event of TFC 9: Total Chaos at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Although the result of the fight wasn't available as of press time, Valimaki said he would definitely be back in a suit at the after party.

"I love the sport but sometimes it seems like it's not going in the right direction," Valimaki said.

"It's more lead to brawlers and that sort of thing."


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