Photo of Jesus Padron courtesy of Terry Johnson, Shane Dunagan, and XCFC
Saturday, March 6, the modest town of Lordsburg New Mexico will evolve into a town consumed by mixed martial arts. This transformation will happen when Shane Dunagan brings his brand of MMA event into the desert with him.
Xtreme Courage Fighting Championships is primarily an amateur event that brings together some of the finest up-and-coming fighters in the southwest. Shane hand picks and selects his fighters to ensure not only quality in his shows, but integrity within the event.
For those who may not realize, the life of an amateur martial artist is one that opens many doors. Sometimes those doors lead to less than desirable circumstances. When you're young in this game you're hungry and will seize any opportunity to compete.
All that being said, that ambition can be a detriment if a promoter does not enforce a strict code of honesty and integrity when matching up opponents. Everything from prior fight experience, to weight, to talent level can be misrepresented for the sake of keeping the show moving.
It is not every promoter that puts that integrity into their show and their fighters. Shane, on the other hand, demands it. It is first and foremost on his agenda. The show will take care of itself if he prioritizes taking care of his fighters.
And for the record, the fighters, the clubs they represent, and everyone that does business with Dunagan applaud him for it. His reputation precedes him in the area, and has earned him undying respect in this business.
Shane was kind enough to share some thoughts on his upcoming event.
He has an Extreme Super Heavyweight division, and Saturday the title is on the line. One thing is certain: When fellas this big get to throwing their weight around a cage, only one thing can happen—fireworks.
Shane shared his take on the match.
"It's Gabe Dominguez out of Safford Az and Francisco Valenzuela out of Silver City NM. Cisco Valenzeula currently holds that title. I look for this to be a good match up.
"Cisco has had a couple of impressive wins. Cisco's last fight was with a gentlemen from El Paso TX that actually outweighed Cisco by about 100 pounds. I think the guy came in at 450 pounds. Cisco got a knockout in the match up."
Shane went on to say:
"Gabe Dominguez got a first round knock out in the last appearance he had in the XCFC. He went on to get a referee stoppage over in Deming at another event. They both seem to think they are going to walk away the victor, so that ought to be a good matchup."
Another title fight takes place between two very popular fighters in the XCFC. Jesus Padron holds both the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles for Shane. Padron has a 10-0 amateur record, with only one fight leading past the first round. Padron is the real deal, and looks to defend his HW title against a very game Gabe Garcia.
Garcia called Padron out and challenged him at the last XCFC event, and showed the utmost respect for the current champ, but made his intentions clear...he wants that belt.
Well he gets his chance at it this Saturday. It should prove a classic clash of styles (grappling vs. striking) between two very tough amateur fighters.
Shane had this to say about his HW title fight.
"I think it's a good match up. Jesus is tough by all means. He brings a lot to the table with his wrestling background. He has proven himself in his last couple fights with his striking ability. Gabe Garcia, on the other hand, is one of those guys who has a no fear type mentality that just makes him dangerous. So I look for that to be a good matchup."
Shane pointed to what could be a wild card for his champ, Padron.
"Gabe's primarily a striker, but he has got a little bit of ground. Gabe is just scrappy like I said, what he doesn't have in technique he makes up for in sheer tenacity. He is one of those guys that just gets in there and gets it on."
One writer cannot wait for Padron Garcia, but this is not about me...moving on.
In what may prove fight of the night, Shane was very excited to talk about a match he feels may steal the show. When asked about the 155pound title fight, Shane lit up.
"Oh I think that is going to be a good one."
Shane explained the circumstances:
"The 155-pound title is vacant, and Robert Gainey is coming out of Tucson. Robert is a guy that is pretty technical with a big heart. He just doesn't want to stop. When things are rough, he's one of those guys that just perseveres and keeps on going.
"Michael Moore, on the other side, is an accomplished wrestler, and I think it will be a war between those two. I'm looking forward to that one."
Amongst those who know, Dunagan and his promotion have a reputation that as N.M. MMA Official Joe Valencia once put it "is above reproach." It goes without saying for anyone who recognizes the name. Shane shared his own thoughts about what separates the XCFC from the pack.
"I think we treat all the fighters like they are people and not fighters. I think all my staff does that. We just try to take care of the guys and be respectful to them, and we expect them in return to try and conduct themselves as professionally as possible."
Dunagan went on to say:
"Even though they are amateur, we tell them this is the road to becoming a professional, and they might as well start now. They should start conducting themselves professionally. We try to embed that in their head, and just be positive and treat the guys good. If you be honest with them they are going to be honest back."
Well said, Shane Dunagan.
Shane is a highly decorated traditional martial artist who understands the finer points of what is truly behind the practical applications of martial arts.
It is not just the submission or the knockout that Dunagan and the XCFC desire; it is the elevation of combat through the respect and dignity required to consider oneself a true warrior.
That journey to becoming a warrior, for many young competitors, starts under the wing of a true master in this sport—Shane Dunagan and his fighting organization, The Xtreme Courage Fighting Championships.