The cage may sit quiet and empty today but Saturday night it will explode to life when Amherst fighters Josh Strickland (left) and Tim Skidmore step into the octagon at the Tim Hortons 4-Ice Centre in Moncton. The fighters often get together and train downstairs at Your Place Fitness in Amherst. Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily?News
AMHERST?- Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world and Amherst is one area experiencing major growth spurts.
Several Amherst area fighters will continue to expand interest in the sport when they test themselves in the octagon at the Tim Horton's 4-Ice Centre in Moncton Saturday night.
"The venue's great and it should be great entertainment for the fans," fighter Tim Skidmore said.
Skidmore is on the card along with four other fighters from the area: Josh Strickland and John Hachey, both of Amherst, and Justin Bourgeois and Jeremy Henry, both from Springhill.
The fighters all train at different clubs but they often get together and train in a more relaxed atmosphere downstairs at Your Place fitness in Amherst.
"I train at Marmac in Truro," Strickland said. "But the days I can't make it to Truro I come down here for some light sparring."
Strickland said it's a great place to come for informal workouts.
"We all train at different clubs and we learn different things so you get a mish mash of information when you come down here," Strickland said. "Plus the mats are new and clean and most of the equipment down here is really good."
Skidmore said the mats were put in only four days ago.
Anyone is welcome to come down and watch a workout.
"We don't force anyone to come down and put the gloves on and go at it," Skidmore said. "We want everyone to have basic techniques and basic conditioning before they start sparring."
The main idea is to have fun.
"It's just a group of people getting together to train," Skidmore added. "I probably enjoy teaching MMA than I do fighting."
On this night there were three young fighters getting together to train with Skidmore and Strickland.
"The only thing we ask is that you leave you're ego at the door, because probably the worst thing in MMA is an ego," Strickland said. "If you strut down here and you've had a hundred bar fights and you want to be a goon then MMA isn't for you."
Stickland said MMA at Your Place fitness helped develop the basics.
"If you want to box you go to a boxing club, if you want to develop some good throws you go to judo and if you want to learn some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and roll with some fighters who have fought in the cage before, then come down here."
After Saturday night's MMA event in Moncton, both fighters will travel to Montreal to fight for Canadian Championships: Skidmore for the Ultimate Generation Combat middleweight belt on June 14 and Strickland for the King of the Cage Heavyweight belt on June 20.
Both men say they would love to bring a Championship belt back to Amherst.
Anybody interested in learning mixed martial arts can go downstairs at Your Place Fitness in Amherst.
"I'm usually there on weeknights from 7 to 9," Skidmore said.
The cost of MMA is the cost of going to the gym. It's $7 for a day pass and $49 for a monthly pass.
"So you can work out upstairs then come and train down here," Skidmore said. "You can get two good work outs for the price of one."