Travis Wiuff excited for latest opportunity at the Med City Fighting Championships
The professional fighter and Kasson resident will compete at the first-time event on Saturday at Mayo Civic Center.
ROCHESTER — At age 44, professional fighter Travis Wiuff simply loves to compete.
That’s why the Kasson resident still gets in the ring, in the cage and on the wrestling mat even after a two-decade pro career that has featured over 100 professional mixed martial arts fights.
“I just enjoy competition,” Wiuff said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s wrestling or MMA or boxing or you and I are playing checkers. I consider it all kind of the same. It’s competition and I love it.”
Yet, as he has grown older, those chances to compete are growing more and more slim.
So when he saw mixed martial arts promoters Jay Paulson and Matthew Vogt announce MMA would be returning to Rochester in the form of the first-ever Med City Fighting Championships, it almost seemed too good to be true.
He reached out to Paulson and Vogt, who were more than happy to find a spot for the local legend. In the end, they settled on a jiu jitsu match that will be part of a night that features a main card with five amateur MMA matches for Saturday, Jan. 28 at Mayo Civic Center. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the action set for 5.
Although jiu jitsu isn’t exactly Wiuff’s cup of tea, the chance to compete in front of family and friends is certainly an exciting one.
“Jiu jitsu is definitely not my main expertise, but I've done quite a few of them,” Wiuff said. “I've done this for a long time. I feel comfortable stepping into something I'm not really familiar with. But the end of the day, it's just a chance to compete in front of Rochester, in front of a lot of people that haven't had the opportunity or it's been a long time since they've had a chance to see me.
"At least 10 to 15 years.”
Wiuff will take on 30-year-old Minnesota native and professional fighter Thomas Herrara in a match that should lead into a good night of MMA on Saturday. Minnesota fighters Anteze Howard and McCoy Tekautz are the main event with Rochester’s Tremaine Jackson clashing with Iowa fighter Daniel Andrade in the co-main event. Rochester’s Colin Law is also on the main card.
Tickets are on sale at ticketmaster.com as well as the Mayo Civic Center box office, with reserved seating starting at $38.
This show is the first of what Paulson and Vogt hope are many to come as they look to accomplish the mission of growing the sport and giving amateurs/local fighters more opportunities to advance. Wiuff has been impressed with their initiative so far.
"They have big plans alright,” Wiuff said. “They rented out the Civic Center, which is a huge step. They're doing this show in the Auditorium, then in April, they plan to do a large show. The main arena. They asked me to headline it so I am excited about that. So it's a great opportunity. There's a lot of fight fans in Rochester and Southeast Minnesota. I think it's an opportunity for these guys to do something really big. So it could turn out to be a pretty, pretty good thing.”
To prepare for his latest opportunities, Wiuff has been training at the gym he's started in Kasson, the Kratos Athletic Training Center.
The gym — co-owned by Wiuff and Albert Brand — will be open to the public sometime in March and will offer strength-training equipment, cardio equipment, wrestling mats and boxing equipment for all ages.
For now, though, Wiuff is focused on Saturday and whatever other opportunities to compete come his way.
"I still train hard and I still feel really good," Wiuff said. "It's kind of like that Toby Keith song, 'I'm not as good as I once was. But I'm as good once as I ever was.' "