December 18, 2008
Manitoba fighter cashes in at Vegas tourney
By JIM BENDER
If Chris Stranger Jr. wrote a song about himself, it could be called, 'I've fought everywhere, man, I've fought everywhere."
Not only that but the Peguis First Nation fighter has competed in a number of different disciplines. He has boxed; he has competed in Mixed Martial Arts; he has wrestled; he knows Muay Thai boxing techniques and he has learned Brazilian jiu jitsu.
In fact, Stranger recently won the silver medal in the novice men's heavyweight advanced Gi at the renowned Grapplers Quest in Las Vegas, where more than 1,500 fighters competed recently.
"These guys are really good," Stranger said. "If you blink, the guy will throw a flying armbar at you and the fight is over."
Stranger, 35, also won a bronze in the no Gi event.
"It's a big thing for guys who do jiu jitsu and I'm the only guy from Manitoba to ever win a medal at that competition," he said. "And I might be the only the only fighter in Canada with two medals from that tournament."
Stranger has only been training in jiu jitsu for five years.
"I'm a real fast learner because the guy who showed me was real good," he said. "I trained with Reggie Mitchell, a Navajo, in New Mexico."
Mitchell runs the well-known Club Fierce.
"I absorb things real fast," Stanger said. "That's why I can still compete."
Stranger, who is an instructor himself with the Bears Den MMA club that he founded, took two male and one female fighter with him to Vegas. It was the first time for all four and two of them finished fourth. The woman, Michelle Wilson, lost her bronze-medal match. Stranger, however, admitted that the trip is costly for all concerned.
"Anybody can go -- there were UFC fighters there, too," he said. "It's the biggest tournament in North America and everyone wants to go there to compete."
Stranger, who fought in his first boxing tourney when he was just 16, also promotes amateur fights up at Peguis. In fact, he just had one last month. His next Peguis card is in March.
Stranger currently trains 12 fighters and often works the corner for Dwight Sutherland on UCW cards.
Stranger has also participated in dog sledding, trapping, and drum making.
Despite the cost, Stranger plans to return to the Grapplers Quest in Las Vegas in May.