Local mixed martial arts fighters bring home championship belts

Justin Harrington and Tyson Cunningham display their belts with their coaches.

Two MMA fighters who call Enumclaw home, Tyson Cunningham and Justin Harrington, fought at the Super Fight League 41 and both walked away with a gold champion title.

The fights were at the Emerald Queen Casino Saturday in Tacoma. Cunningham was the first fight, followed by Harrington.

The main fight of the night was Harrington, fighting to win back the lightweight championship against Harrison “Wolverine” Bevens. Harrington has been fighting since 2009 with his first amateur fight in kick boxing where he won by knockout in the second round. His standing after this fight is now 7-2-0.

Although Bevens was confident the fight would last all five rounds, the referee had to call the fight with one second left in the second round.

Harrington was able to land a few shots that left his opponent dazed and on the defensive. This allowed him to land enough damaging shots while on the ground and ended the fight with the referee’s call.

After winning the fight Harrington made sure that his fellow fighter was all right and hugged him as he stood.

“Lot of honor in this sport,” said one of the announcers of the fight. “Despite any trash talk or anything that may exist prior to the fight, you respect anybody that has the guts to step in that cage and shut the door behind them.”

Cunningham fought in the welterweight class against Mike “Zombie” Dubois for the unoccupied welterweight champion belt. Cunningham has been competing since he was young practicing judo and wrestling through middle school and high school. He started training for MMA when he came home from the Marines and joined the Combat Sport and Fitness facility in Enumlaw. His standing after this fight is 4-0-1.

As the fighters walked out through the crowd, Cunningham was clearly the crowd favorite being from Washington.

Before the doors to the cage were even closed, the fight was predicted to be a ground fight; with Cunningham being a wrestler and Dubois training mostly in jujitsu, they are both generally more comfortable on the ground.

As predicted, both rounds of the fight were fought mostly on the ground. The first round ended with Cunningham landing more hits, but both fighters were ready to continue the fight.

Round two ended with the referee calling the fight when Dubois went limp. As Dubois fought against Cunningham’s hold, Cunningham’s shoulder was against his throat, blocking his carotid artery and causing him to blackout and end the fight.

Cunningham walked away from the fight as the welterweight champion and keeping his loss count at zero.

Both of the Enumclaw fighters will return to their training gym, Combat Sport and Fitness victorious.

“One of the premier MMA gyms is in Enumclaw,” said Cunningham. “I don’t think many people notice that.”

Cunningham and Harrington will continue to train for their next fight, because as Cunningham said, “your reward for winning, is a harder fight.”