MMA moves to Cage action on Okinawa

No less than four American fighters face Japanese opponents in Sunday tournament.

Three young American military fighters are ready for Sunday, when Mixed Martial Arts grows to a new dimension – Locked On – Cage Impact — for the very first time in Okinawa.

Derrick Threatt

The matches use standard rules of Mixed Martial Arts, but take place in a seven-meter-wide hexagonal  wire cage instead of a square ring.  The wire net cage is new to the island, and three military men will enter that cage to face three of mainland Japan’s strongest fighters at Namura Hall, located in Naha City’s Matsuyama entertainment district.

Ryan Allard, Darious Williams and Derric Threatt are ready for action, which is divided into three categories.  It begins with the first round Locked On Cage, which is

Darious Demond Williams

for beginners. The second stage is Lpcked On Cage for experienced fighters, leading the way to the final stage Locked On Cage Impact where professional rules apply and only power fighters enter the ring.

Sunday’s action sees doors open at 3 p.m., with the MMA fights beginning at 4 p.m.  Advance Tickets are $65 or ¥6,000 for SRS reserved seats, $55 or ¥5,500 for reserved seats, $45 or ¥4,000 for regular seats, $30 or ¥2,500 for standing room.  All tickets at the door will be an additional ¥500.

This is the tenth year of the tournament, which began

Ryan Alexander Allard

under the name ‘The Outsider’ on Okinawa.  The name changed to Locked On in 2011, and is now continuing to grow.  Organizers are billing the island as “King of one-on-one fighting Okinawa” with a goal of bringing fighters from outside Japan to mix it up with Japanese fighters.

The Americans are at the tip of that spear.  Derric Threatt has been fighting MMA since he was 16, practicing six days a week on base.  During his nearly three years on Okinawa, he’s continued to press his skills and improve in martial arts.  The difficult part is balancing his life to keep family, work, training and

Nicholas Lipton

fighting on an even keel.

Ryan Alexander Allard is a relative newbie to mixed martial arts, taking it up only a year ago.  His motivation in the sport is “to win” and to accomplish that, he trains at Camp Foster and Futenma Marine Corps Air Station five times a week.  The third member of the military trio, Darious Demond Williams, has been doing MMA for a few years, but didn’t step into the competition ring until last year. He says “I was always big on fitness, and martial arts is something I always wanted to learn since childhood.”  He trains in ju jutsu on Kadena Air Base, and kickboxing on Camp Foster.  For Darious, the hardest part is “being able to balance all the hard training with work, life and other hobbies.”