Tucked into a corner of Table Forty 4, a handful of mixed martial arts competitors lined up, waiting for each of their names to be called.
Nearby, trays of bar-food staples awaited. Buffalo wings, anyone? Maybe another night.
Competitors in the Purgatory Fight Series 10 mixed martial arts event had to turn down the goodies. Instead, 20 men had to make weight Thursday night inside the downtown eatery, less than 24 hours before tonight’s event at the Huntington Center.
Tyler Beckley, who played college football at the University of Findlay, had a cooler of fruit and water at his feet as he discussed his middleweight bout against Hector Urbina of Archbold, who enters at 15-7-1. The bout between the two Northwest Ohio residents is considered the marquee matchup on tonight’s 10-fight card.
“It means a lot to fight in front of friends and family here, to put a show for them and it means a lot to me, that they show up and want to support me,” said Beckley, who is 5-1 in his career. “When Fred [Vallejo, event coordinator for AVJ Events, a fight-promotion company] threw Hector’s name at me I said, ‘yeah, I think we can make that a great fight.’ In terms of training, I tried to fine-tune a lot of my training. We game-plan for whoever we’re fighting, for what their strengths are or what our strengths could be against them.”
Tonight’s event will be the first professional mixed martial arts event in Toledo, and bouts were made official after Thursday night’s weigh-in. Tonight’s event is scheduled to include 10 bouts in six weight classes: flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight.
But to fight tonight, some went a certain distance Thursday night in order to shed that last pound. Next to the scale and the weigh-in officials, Matt Montalvo jogged in place and spit into a paper cup, a last-ditch attempt to lose those final ounces necessary for securing a spot in a featherweight bout against Donte Adams.
Urbina, meanwhile, sat at a table with his manager and finished a small tray of fruit and a sandwich on whole wheat bread.
“Preparation is everything, and diet is everything,” said Urbina, who trained for six weeks in Florida prior to tonight’s event. “Training is everything. I came here, and I’m a sharpened tool, ready to go to work. I was underweight, and with dieting, I made the cut a lot easier. I cut about 10 pounds from last night, and that was just pure water weight.”
Montalvo, the featherweight competitor, was so concerned about making weight that he left nothing to chance - and nothing on. Montalvo asked for a privacy screen to be placed in front of him as he stepped onto the electronic scale. He emerged from behind the screen to the applause of friends, and emerged in shorts, nodding. He had made weight.
Then came the final hours before competition - and the final challenges. Urbina took a paced approach.
“There are going to be three challenges,” Urbina said. “One is not overeating. Two, not overdrink. And third, not to beat up this guy so fast.”
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.