There’s no title on the line this time — just South Shore pride.
South Tahoe’s Ryan McCarthy (6-1) will take on Chris Huerta (7-4) of Madera, Calif., on Friday in the McCarthy Massacre at Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa. The fight card is loaded with 10 amateur MMA fights. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the fights start at 9 p.m.
Former New England Patriot and Nevada Wolf Pack defensive end, Ryan Coulson, will be featured on the undercard. The former All-Conference player will be taking on Chico’s Austin Haggerty at heavyweight. Local fighters Miguel Jimenez, Spike Vance, Casey Miller, and Shane Miller will also be fighting.
As for McCarthy, the headlining bout will be his final amateur fight before he turns pro.
“McCarthy is a well-rounded fighter. He takes the fight pretty much wherever he wants to,” Huerta’s trainer Jose Torres said. “On the feet, I believe Huerta can beat him because he has four knockouts on the feet. So he’s got the power to knock him out, but I know McCarthy’s got the power to knock out Chris so if they keep it standing someone’s going to sleep.”
It all started with a YouTube comment that Huerta posted on video footage of McCarthy’s last fight.
It was September, and McCarthy was fighting Christian Cardona in a World Fighting Championship title bout. McCarthy won the belt by TKO in 2 minutes, 25 seconds.
Huerta was on the same fight ticket that night, in a preceding bout, which he won by unanimous decision in five rounds. Huerta stuck around to see McCarthy fight.
“He knocked a tough guy out in less than three minutes, and I wanted a piece of him,” Huerta said. “I’m a fighter too and looking for some good competition so I put it out there and he accepted.”
McCarthy posted video footage of his Cardona fight, and Huerta commented. He asked McCarthy to “chuck ‘em” for the belt.
“OK, let’s do it,” McCarthy posted back.
Turns out the fight won’t be for the belt since it has a catch weight of 160 pounds.
“It could very easily have been a title fight,” McCarthy said. “If it was at 155 it would be a title shot, but he’s coming from a higher weight class and he can’t get down to 155.”
So without the belt on the line and just a YouTube call-out hanging in the air, it will just be good old-fashioned pride that’s on the line.
And by this point, the challenge has been hanging in the air for months.
McCarthy and Huerta were supposed to fight a few months ago, but an injury forced McCarthy to postpone the fight. Then, when it seemed the fight was back on, Huerta accepted another fight that was scheduled for one week ago.
The Escobar training camp was not pleased.
“(Huerta) called Ryan out to fight,” Escobar said.
“And for him to take another amateur fight a week before,” McCarthy said. “He could have gotten injured or something else. If he would have fought, all my training would have been for nothing.”
Amateurs can fight every week if they want to, but medical suspensions are readily handed out. For example, a fighter who loses by TKO automatically receives a 90-day suspension.
The Escobar camp knew if Huerta fought the week before he would likely be unable to fight in McCarthy tonight. So McCarthy started training to face a different opponent.
Huerta, however, didn’t end up fighting Saturday. He originally took the fight because he was told he’d been pulled off the McCarthy fight.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t fight because I would much rather have the fight with McCarthy,” Huerta said. “He brings the whole package and we look for fighters like that. We don’t want guys who are just going to hold you down the whole fight or not make it exciting. He plays the whole game, just like I do.”
It’s taken three years of training and sacrifice for McCarthy to become the whole-package fighter he now is.
“It kind of all goes away when you get in the cage. I don’t hear any people. It’s just me and that other guy in there with the ref, and it’s almost quiet,” McCarthy said. “Even though it’s so loud I can’t hear anything. It’s kind of an intense meditation. You don’t think about anything else, just the one task ahead of you.”
FIGHTING AT THE NEXT LEVEL
Three years ago, McCarthy walked into Escobar Training Grounds one month before his first amateur fight. He lost the fight, but it sparked the desire to learn more and take it to the next level.
Six months later, McCarthy fought again and won. He hasn’t lost since. He is now 6-1, which includes a title win over Sean Shamrock, the son of UFC Legend, Ken Shamrock.
McCarthy will schedule his first pro fight in three or four month’s time.
There’s no huge secret to turning pro. It’s just a matter of when a fighter is ready, usually once that fighter has enough amateur experience. There are three major differences at the pro level — the obvious elevated level of competition, five-minute rounds instead of three, and the fighters get paid.
McCarthy, and fellow Escobar fighter Corey “White Mamba” Carlson, both plan on turning pro after one more amateur fight each.
“We don’t live in a huge city so the fact that two or our fighters are turning pro who are local kids is a lot considering the ratio,” Escobar said.
“The people who Ryan and Corey have to fight now are so much better because they’ve had so many amateur fights. By the time that you’re 5-1 or 7-3 you’re doing this to turn pro.”
McCarthy and Carlson have been training at the pro level for some time. Escobar has his fighters train for five-minute rounds instead of the three-minute amateur rounds.
“They already train like that. I don’t train them to be good amateur fighters. I train them to turn pro,” Escobar said.
Escobar Training classes are six days a week and prices range from $50 to $140 per month. Training sessions cost $1,900 for two, six-week sessions.
For fight results check the Tahoe Daily Tribune online.
“The event is called the McCarthy Massacre so I know what’s up. I know how it goes. Everyone is expecting him to beat me, but win or lose it’s going to be a good fight.”
— Chris Huerta,