PROVIDENCE, R.I. (May 1st, 2018) –– On Friday, Kenny Foster gets to enjoy a fight-day routine he, unlike many of his peers, hasn’t had the luxury of experiencing.
“It’s going to be really cool to wake up in my own bed, even take my dog for a walk in the morning,” said Foster, the Long Island lightweight who faces Jacob Bohn (5-5, 1 KO) in the co-feature of “CES MMA NY” at The Space at Westbury Theater on Friday, May 4th, 2018.
“Kiss my girlfriend, pet my dog, and go fight. I drive by that place almost every day on my way to work. It’s pretty cool.”
Like many New York fighters, Foster (12-12, 1 KO) has had to carve his niche as a well-traveled road warrior due in large part to the fact New York state didn’t legalize mixed martial arts until Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially signed the bill in 2016. By then, Foster already had 22 professional fights under his belt. He fought everywhere from Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire and even Oklahoma, but never in a sanctioned event in his home state.
Friday’s event at Westbury Theater is CES MMA’s first venture into New York after promoting 49 shows throughout New England since its inception in 2010. Later this summer, the wildly-successful promotion will host its 50th event, but first dips its toes into the Big Apple water this weekend with a stacked lineup featuring a handful of New York’s most renowned fighters.
In addition to Foster, whose opponent, Bohn, hails from the small upstate town of Le Roy, “CES MMA NY” also features an all-New York main event between Glens Falls native Matthew Secor (9-5) and Brazilian welterweight Renee Forte (8-4, 2 KOs), also fighting out of Long Island. Oyster Bay welterweight John Gotti III (1-0) makes his highly-anticipated New York debut as a professional in a three-round bout against Eddie Haws (0-1) of Schenectady.
Tickets for “CES MMA NY” are priced at $100.00, $115.00, $175.00 and $200.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesmma.com or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
While professional MMA is still relatively new to the scene, the sky’s the limit for many of the state’s active fighters to begin boosting their resumes without having to always the roll the dice in an opponent’s backyard.
Foster has made a successful living spoiling the party in other fighter’s hometowns, including his appearance at “CES MMA 42” in 2017 at Twin River Casino in which he beat Rhode Islander Joe Pingitore by unanimous decision.
With the opportunity to fight at home, Foster could earn another much-needed win in front of family and friends, many of whom haven’t been able to see him fight live, while also opening the door for sponsors and investors, a potential economic boom for New York’s close-knit MMA community.
“A lot of this game now is about marketing yourself,” Foster said. “This is such a busy place.
“New York City is really its own entity. New York state is huge. The gyms here are filled with tough, tough guys, a lot of tough fighters. The money is the biggest resource. These are some of the most expensive places to live in the country. New York City is the most densely-populated suburb. It’s almost overwhelming.”
The bright lights of New York have, in fact, overwhelmed professional athletes in the past, though more so in team sports. New York is famous for its relentless media and demanding fan bases, but Foster sees it as a blessing to fight in front of a raucous crowd of supporters, a luxury many of CES MMA’s fighter enjoy regularly while fighting in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
“I’ve fought on a pretty big stage before and competed on some of the sport’s biggest stages,” said Foster, whose resume includes eight appearances with Bellator in addition to two fight with CES MMA.
“To me, it’s more of a sentimental value than pressure. I’m 32 now. I’ll perform how I’m going to perform. It’s not like I’m worried about anything in particular. I just really want to put on a good show and display my talents to the people that are here to see me. That’s what’s important to me – putting on a good show and bringing a little more notoriety.”
Foster is a construction worker for the Local 7 tile, marble and terrazzo union in Queens, so his daily commute often takes him through New York’s most populated cities past some of the state’s iconic venues, among them the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. Westbury Theater is merely half an hour from his home.
“Driving there is actually the most convenient thing for me,” he said.
The stakes are high Friday as CES MMA makes its Big Apple, but the timing couldn’t be better. Since the UFC broke the ice in New York with UFC 205 in 2016, the state has benefited from the undeniable economics of mixed martial arts. CES MMA is simply the latest in a long line of successful promotions ready to reap the benefits as it presents yet another action-packed fight card Friday night.
“With all the money here, all the things local fighters can get their hands on, all the local businesses involves, it’s amazing what this will evolve into once it’s more frequent,” Foster said. “We can really blow the lid off this shit.”
Also on “CES MMA NY,” two-time CES MMA vet Miguel Restrepo (4-4-1), now fighting out of Brooklyn, battles Franklin, Mass., flyweight Bill Giovanella (8-8, 3 KOs) and heavyweight Jahsua Marsh (2-3, 1 KO) of Brentwood fights in New York as a professional for the first time in a three-round bout against unbeaten South Portland, Maine, veteran Ras Hylton (2-0, 1 KO).
Bantamweight Sergio Da Silva (6-9) of New York City battles Milford, N.H., native Walter Smith-Cotito (5-5, 1 KO) and Al Jones (2-3, 1 KO) also of New York, faces Elmira veteran Quentin Gaskins (1-4) in a bantamweight bout.
Light heavyweight Jahnell Parkinson (1-0) of Albany faces newcomer Terrance Jean-Jacques of Haverhill, Mass., and Amsterdam, N.Y., middleweight Tom Regal (2-0, 2 KOs) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Worcester, Mass., vet Reginaldo Felix (3-2, 3 KOs).
Cover Photo courtesy of Will Paul
NEW YORK NATIVE Kenny Foster, left, returns to his home state when he battles Jacob Bohn in the co-feature of “CES MMA NY” at The Space at Westbury Theater in Westbury, N.Y., on Friday, May 4th, 2018. The event also features a main-event showdown between New Yorkers Matt Secor and Renee Forte. Tickets are on sale now beginning at $100 for balcony seating. Oyster Bay welterweight John Gotti III faces New York vet Eddie Haws on the undercard.
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