Bear River fight nights eye 2021 return

Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — With local interest in MMA soaring like never before, fight promoter Brian Wilson of Hard Fought Productions said this week that he is planning on bringing back the Bear River Casino fight nights in 2021.

The last fight night was held in January, with three of this year’s fight nights canceled because of COVID-19.

Wilson, however, is hoping for a full return in 2021.

“We’re planning on four shows for next year,” Wilson said, adding that he’s “optimistic, but nothing’s for sure right now.”

The shows have been a huge success at the local casino for the past few years, attracting sellout crowds of 1,000 and more every time.

This year, Wilson added a fourth event to the schedule before the shutdown forced a cancelation for the year.

Local interest in the sport continues to soar with Humboldt County pros like Cass Bell, Orion Cosce and Louis Cosce all making noise in the pro ranks.

Earlier this week, Orion announced he will fight Nicolas Dalby at UFC 255 next month.

Wilson, who also runs the Lost Boys gym in Arcata, says the success of the Cosce brothers at the UFC level this year has inspired his fighters.

“Their success has ignited a flame with some of the other guys,” Wilson said of the brothers, each of whom got their start at the local MMA gym. “And that’s great to see.”

Wilson says attendance in his gym has been up since they reopened their doors recently, with modified practice allowed.

For now, the MMA scene remains largely on hold here in California, but six of the Lost Boys fighters will travel to Minnesota in December to fight at the Warriors Games.

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