Cage work is a tough business requiring deep reserves of dedication but mixed martial artist Ryan VanSnick has made the necessary sacrifices to get the job done.
VanSnick, who lives in River Hebert, won the first mixed martial arts fight he ever entered at the Brawl at the Border recently held at Amherst Stadium on Saturday, May 9.
Going into the fight he had two distinct disadvantages - his knee wasn't 100 per cent and he was fighting out of his normal weight class.
"When my opponent and me went in for the weigh in, they had me contracted to fight at 140 pounds and him to fight at 150 pounds," VanSnick said. "So at the weigh in I was 137 pounds and he was 146 pounds."
Fighting at a lighter weight with a bad knee wasn't the toughest part of the fight.
"The hardest part was how nervous I was getting into the cage," VanSnick said.
As a matter of fact he was so nervous he barely remembers the sequence of events leading up to the cage.
"I don't even remember hearing my entrance music or hearing the crowd," added VanSnick. "April, my girlfriend, asked if I heard the crowd cheering for me and if I heard her cheering in the background and I said, 'No'. I couldn't hear anybody but my trainer Tim Skidmore. I could only focus on him."
Once the bell rang the nerves drained away and VanSnick got down to business and finished his opponent off with a rear naked choke in the second round.
VanSnick trains at the Cumberland Freestyle Academy in Amherst one or two times a week and said he wants to focus on improving his stand up skills.
"I want to work on my kickboxing with Tim and maybe work on my boxing skills with Roger Dorrington," VanSnick said.
Before taking up MMA about a year and a half ago, VanSnick trained with Dorrington for about a year and said boxing came in handy in the ring.
VanSnick, who is now 25 years old, grew up in Amherst and went to ARHS for Grade 10. In 2000 he moved to River Hebert and attended RHDH for Grades 11 and 12.
"I have four kids and I work nights so family and gym life is about all I have time for," he said.