Stafford to make MMA debut

CROWLEY – The world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has always intrigued Adrian Stafford.

So much so that the 36-year old Acadian Ambulance paramedic decided to begin a rigourous training program a year ago in hopes of someday getting the chance to get into the octagon.

That someday will be on Saturday when Stafford makes his MMA amateur debut at Top Shelf Sports Arena in Youngsville on a card billed as GFA 17.

“I have always been interested in fighting,” said Stafford, who will be taking on Kinder’s Billy Brown in a heavyweight bout. “I’m in the best shape of my life so I figured why not give it a shot.”

Stafford has been training for his upcoming fight with Global Fighting Alliance of Alexandria for the past six months and trainer Allen Gray has seen tremendous progress from the Crowley native.

“It’s been fun watching Adrian train,” said Gray. “Obviously he has a brawler mentality but he’s been working real diligently on training. He has really put an effort in to get a good skill set going and he’s made quite a bit of progress.

“He’s working hard. Nobody gets it overnight. But he’s been training hard and I’ve seen a lot of development in him.”

Although not much is known of his opponent, Stafford does know that Brown fights out of a home gym and is basically a stand up fighter.

That suits Stafford just fine.

“He has no training but stand up, so, basically, it’s going to be a street fight,” said Stafford. “My style of fighting is brawling with a little jiu-jitsu in there. But I haven’t gotten my jiu-jitsu up to par just yet.”

The compelling thing for Stafford, who has been know to engage in his fair share of fights growing up, is the fact that there is no consequences to face regarding the law.

“I used to fight, go to jail and have to pay to get out,” said Stafford. “Now I get to fight, not go to jail and get paid.”

Although Stafford does not know what the future holds, he does plan on sticking with MMA, at least for the time being.

“You know, I’m getting up there in age but I do plan to get a few fights in,” said Stafford. “Your first fight, either your success or your failure sometimes determines if you keep going or not. Guys my age, you’re either all in or all out.”

For now, Stafford is all in.

“Going into one of these fights, the thing is to expect the worst and hope for the best,” said Stafford. “The thing about the octagon is that anybody can beat anybody at any given time.

“I just want to prove to myself that all my hard work has paid off and I’ve done enough to get me through it.”

There are nine amateur bouts slated for the evening as well as three professional fights.

Headlining the event are Lafayette fighters Aaron Philips and J.D Alexander.

Phillips, an undefeated fighter out of Lafayette’s Gladiators Academy, will be taking on National Boxing and 3-time Army Combative champ Jesse Thorton of Dallas while Alexander will battle with John De Jesus of Miami.

GFA’s 135 champion David Basnick, representing Global Hit Squad out of Alexandria, will move up to 145-pounds to challenge Prestige Fights 145 champion Zach Cothren for a Champions Challeng Match.

Tickets for GFA 17 can be purchased online at GFAFights.com, at Gladiators gym in Lafayette or at the door the night of the event. Prices are $25 for general admission, $40 for reserved seating and $80 for VIP seating.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout slated to begin at 7.

Acadia Parish Today

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