By Ray Hamill — This past week was a big one for local MMA, with brothers Orion and Louis Cosce both winning their fights at the Dana White Contender Series and earning UFC contracts in the process.
It’s a phenomenal achievement on its own and you get the feeling it’s just the beginning for these two.
But it means so much more than that, and the impact these trailblazers — along with Cass Bell before them — are having on the local MMA scene and local sports in general cannot be under-stated.
Here then are five ways the Cosce brothers’ legacy is already being felt here on the North Coast and how Tuesday’s fights impacted local sports …
1 — A big night for Hoopa wrestling
For the two brothers it all began with Hoopa wrestling, at the community level and then in high school.
Again, similar to Arcata’s Cass Bell before them, the coaching they got in wrestling laid the foundation for everything they have achieved in the sport of MMA.
This was particularly evident in the way Orion won his fight against Matt Dixon.
Tuesday wasn’t just a great night for Orion and Louis Cosce, it was a great night for Hoopa wrestling, and no doubt it will encourage a whole new generation of youth wrestlers in the area.
2 — Putting the Lost Boys on the map
The original MMA gym in the area, the Lost Boys have set the standard for the sport here on the North Coast, providing opportunities for local fighters and a platform for them to succeed.
Both Cosce brothers got their start in the sport at the Arcata based gym, and Louis still trains there every day.
“We were the best gym in the area before and we continue to be the best gym in the area,” Lost Boys founder and trainer Brian Wilson said. “And we continue to appreciate the competition from the other gyms.”
There’s no doubt that the Cosces’ success will benefit the Lost Boys and give them more recognition for what they do.
For the record, the three pro fighters from the Lost Boys are now a combined 15-0 in the cage.
3 — A great night for all local MMA
The brothers’ success can only benefit the sport in the area, inspiring more young fighters at both the Lost Boys and the Institute of Combat, the second major local MMA gym.
4 — A boost for local sports in the midst of the pandemic
Even beyond the local MMA scene, this was an inspiring story for local sports in general.
Especially so in the midst of the current pandemic and what has been a thoroughly disheartening year for sports here.
The Cosces gave all of us something to cheer for.
5 — A tribute to the godfather of local MMA
Call him the godfather of the local MMA scene.
Brian Wilson, more than anyone, has been instrumental in the substantial growth of the sport locally.
His impact has been felt in multiple ways.
Not only has he provided fighters a place to develop their skills, but he has trained them and turned some of them — as we’re seeing — into top-class fighters.
He also has provided the opportunity for them to fight, promoting the very successful Bear River Casino Fight Nights.
Tuesday’s success was just as much a testament to what Wilson has done for the sport in Humboldt County.