While back-room political shenanigans continue to keep New York as the only state in America where professional MMA is banned, the amateur side of the sport is flourishing. In one of the most exciting developments yet for local fighters and fans, Gladius Promotions announced on January 28 the formation of an all-star team comprised of Gladius and Art of Combat veterans from around the state who will compete in nationally televised cards with the chance to move on to an international competition in London, England.
Fighting under the banner of Team Syracuse Gladius, this dream team will represent the upstate New York region in the national tournament organized by Fighters Source, an international amateur MMA league. The tournament kicks off for Syracuse Gladius on April 26, when they host the Nashville Renegades at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex in Cortland. The other six cities represented in the tournament are Chicago, Fresno, Miami, Milwaukee, Denver and New York City.
Syracuse Gladius will be well represented by fighters from the Southern Tier. The 145-pound slot on the roster will be filled by 4-0 Art of Combat alumnus Derak Heyman of Tioga. Undefeated Gladius welterweight champion Alex Henry of Ithaca will represent at 170 pounds. Union-Endicott graduate Tyler Bayer is set to go at 205 pounds. Angie Reinhardt of Binghamton will fill the women’s spot at 125 pounds.
Mike Bennett and Tom Connolly of Binghamton will be competing for remaining spots on the March 8 Gladius 10 show in Rochester. Bennett will face Bryce Talini of Syracuse for the 135-pound position and Connolly will challenge Gladius 185-pound champion Joey DiSalvo of Rochester.
The team’s remaining spots are being filled by 155-pound Gladius champion Josh Mayville of Newark and 135-pound Janice Myer of Syracuse. Eight additional alternate spots will be filled in advance of the tournament.
Syracuse Gladius is bringing together not just in-ring talent from around the state, but some of the top coaches and trainers in the region as well. The staff includes Ryan Ciotoli, Jason Porter, Dennis Segue, Chris Herzog, Tim Boda, Randy Smith and Todd Peters. According to the Gladius press release, Ciotoli, a graduate of Union-Endicott and three-time All-American wrestler for Ithaca College, noted of his colleagues that “each of them bring a unique knowledge of the sport.”
The Police Gazette will be publishing interviews and profiles of the fighters and coaches in the coming weeks and months, so check back here often and like us on Facebook!