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FightQuest 55 another smash hit

Last weekend, Kahnawake’s Knights of Columbus Hall hosted FightQuest 55, the latest sellout show put on by the amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) production.

The Saturday, June 15, show was the 34th event put on at the venue by FightQuest, which has been running three or four shows there per year since 2011. 

Retired MMA fighter Stéphane Vigneault was one of the co-founders in 2006, and remains today as promoter. He has partnered with Kahnawa’kehró:non Peter Thomas since 2010.

“This was one of our best shows yet,” said Vigneault.

“I love holding these events. Our team has been doing it together for a long time. It’s a lot of work, but each time it gets easier and better than the last event.”

Vigneault said the vast majority of FightQuest events held at the hall sell out, and the waitlist for VIP tables is months if not years long.

David Beauvais, a Kahnawa’kehró:non fighter, was in the crowd on Saturday, although not yet on the fight card itself. He’s hoping he’ll be able to be in the cage come FightQuest 56 so he can finally fight at home.

“Every event just gets better and better, from the quality of fights to the production of the event,” said Beauvais. 

Indeed, the 10 fights – three of which were for championships – featured some of the top amateur fighters in the province and were almost all entertaining back-and-forth duels.

The quality of the fighters was typical of the shows. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters Charles Jourdain and Marc-André Barriault, for example, have competed for championships in FightQuest events before competing in UFC. 

Ian Stoby, winner on Saturday of the FightQuest middleweight (185-lb) championship, is pondering if now is the right time to join the professional ranks as well.

“Winning the FightQuest title is usually everyone’s last stop as an amateur before they go pro, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did,” said Beauvais of his teammate at H20.

Stoby, a 21-year-old fighter originally from Alberta, has won three other championships prior to his title victory on Saturday. Ever since he started training competitively about five years ago, his goal has been to one day fight for a living.

“Right now, I’m just trying to figure out with my team what’s best for my future,” said Stoby.

In the meantime, the new champion is relishing his victory against Jonathan Noumi by technical knockout.

“I was outgrappling him. I landed some good strikes, some to the body, even some kicks to the head, and I finally finished him off with ground strikes in the third,” said Stoby. “Obviously it feels great to win a fight like that.”

“For a fight this big it looked like another walk in the park for him,” says Beauvais. “At H20, the training is hard, so the fight is easy.”

Other highlights of the event included Nathan Pouliot (Académie L’Octogone) submitting Keegan Chiasson (Big Country MMA) in the first round to retain his featherweight (145-lb) championship, and Alejandro Alavardo Jiminiz (Apex martial arts) defeating Donald Jones (Tristar Gym) by split decision in what Vigneault called his “match of the night.”

While no official date is currently booked for FightQuest 56, Vigneault said to expect the next show to take place sometime in October.

The promotion first started running events in 2006, at first from Laval, before moving permanently to Kahnawake after getting permission and working with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK), the Knights of Columbus, the Peacekeepers, and community members, according to Vigneault. 

Kahnawake is the only place in the province where amateur MMA fights were completely legal, said Vigneault. While not illegal in the rest of the province, the current laws essentially place amateur MMA in a grey zone.

“If we didn’t have the support of the community, we couldn’t put these shows on. Because of our partnership with the Knights of Columbus, we can also give back to them as well, through them raising funds at the concessions, for example,” said Vigneault.

sports@easterndoor.com

This article was originally published in print on June 21 in issue 33.25 of The Eastern Door.

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