By Ray Hamill — Some local sports fans will remember 2020 as the year of COVID-19, while others will remember it as the year Orion and Louis Cosce broke onto the UFC scene.
Indeed, if one success story stood out above all others here on the North Coast this past year, it was surely that of the sibling MMA fighters from Hoopa High.
The former high school wrestlers have been threatening to break into the big time in MMA for a few years now, ever since joining the Lost Boys gym in Arcata.
And they finally got the breakthrough they have worked so hard for in August of this past year when each of them earned a UFC contract at the Dana White Contender Series, becoming the first local-based fighters to make it to the UFC.
And that’s impressive enough to earn them our Sports People of the Year award for 2020.
The brothers were supposed to make their highly-anticipated UFC debuts on the same night in November at UFC 255, but Orion was forced to back out late because of injury.
The older of the two brothers is expected back in the cage early in the New Year and when he does get to make his UFC debut, it will no doubt be one of the biggest sports moments of 2021 here on the North Coast.
Louis, meanwhile, lost a thrilling and grueling fight against Sasha Palnikov at UFC 255, but will learn from the occasion and is expected back in action sometime in 2021.
Louis is now 7-1 as a pro fighter, while Orion is 7-0.
More important for the local MMA scene, the tenacious brothers have inspired a multitude of young fighters and wrestlers in the area, as well as showcasing the strength of youth and high school wrestling here.