Undefeated Brazilian MMA fighter Bruno Ferreira (8-0-0) returns to action August 11 after successfully battling cancer the past three years.
The now 30-year-old Ferreira will take on always dangerous Tony Gravely (12-5-0), of Virginia, at “Road to M-1: USA”, presented by M-1 Global USA and Angel Fight Promotions.
“This is very special for me,” Ferreira said. “Thank God. I’ve waited so long for this to happen. People can expect that I will be equal to or better than in my last fight.
“The cancer treatment was very severe. I had three surgeries and several cycles of chemotherapy, which was so strong and bad that every cycle – lasting from Monday to Friday – was four to five hours. It seemed like I was dying. I tried to cheer up my mother and wife before each surgery, but the fear inside me was huge. When I woke up, I thanked God that I had survived.”
“Road to M-1: USA” will air live on worldwide pay-per-view from Global Mall in Nashville, Tennessee. A hybrid ring-cage, “The Rage”, will make its debut in America.
Integrated Sports Media will distribute “Road to M-1: USA” in North America on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV and DISH in the United States, as well as Rogers, SaskTel, and Shaw PPV in Canada, and live-streamed worldwide on the FITE.TV app and website (www.fite.tv), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, for a suggested retail price of only $19.95.
Georgia middleweight Doug “Yamato” Usher (9-3-0) faces Reggie “The Regulator” Pena (14-6-0), of Florida, in the main event. The co-featured event matches Russian lightweight Vadim Ogar (6-3-0) of North Carolina, versus Yoislandy “Cuba” Izquierdo (11-4-0).
Diagnosed with testicular cancer three years ago, Ferreira’s rise to the top of the MMA world was derailed with his life-threatening medical issue, which severely jeopardized his combat sports career. Sessions of heavy-duty chemotherapy and three surgeries left Ferreira wondering if he’d survive, never mind fight once again.
Although he continued to train, albeit at a much lower level of intensity, he increased the potency of his training after treatments concluded, but he had lost his training rhythm. A restricted diet enabled Bruno to come back strong and now he’s making his post-cancer return in his American debut.
Ferreira does admit that, at one stage, he never thought he’d fight again. “There were a few moments,’ he explained, “especially when I first discovered it. I had a conversation with my brother about my MMA career being over. He said: ‘Calm down, you’ll just delay it a little while.’ The hope of returning to fight gave me strength, but sometimes did cross my mind that I wouldn’t recover from my time off. Thanks to God I came back and today I am about to realize my greatest dream.
“Fighting on worldwide pay per view will have an even more special taste because all the people who helped me will be able to watch and see that not only and I’m doing well, I’m doing what I like the most….fight!
“I want to grow inside of M-1 Global, in search of a title belt, living to fight. I also want to let others suffering from cancer to know that this disease does not always end in death. They need to have a lot of faith in God and live one day at a time. Wake up, thank you; sleep, thank you. I heard a lot of bad things, but I didn’t give up. Be thankful for your miracle, I believe mine has already happened.”
Other scheduled main-card fights include Georgia flyweight C.J. “The Autobot” Hamilton (12-6-0) vs. Floridian fighter Abdiel “The Nightmare” Velazquez (8-5-0), Kentucky welterweight Brandon “The Juggernaut” Bell (5-6-0) vs. Jacob “Tick-Tock” McLintock (9-2-0), of Arizona; and Tennessee welterweight James Conway (3-0-0) vs. P.J. Cajigas (5-7-0), of Chicago.
Preliminary card bouts include California heavyweight Cody “The Moose” Goodale (5-4-0) vs. Nkemdirim “Kim” Oti (2-3-0), of Alabama, New Brunswick, Canada bantamweight Chris Johnson (5-6-0) vs. Jerrod “The Hillbilly Hammer” Jennings (2-1-0), of Kentucky, and Nashville favorite Dwayne Herrelle (0-1-0) vs. pro-debuting Kentucky lightweight Kegan Agnew.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.