MMA cage-fighting card to feature Pine City fighters

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  • Grabowski, Selvig and Skadsheim to appear Dec. 18 at Grand Casino 

Pine Citians Jake Grabowski, 30, Andrew “The Pheonix” Selvig, 20, and Kevin Skadsheim, 24, obviously know how to make an entrance into caged fighting.

These three Pine City fighters will continue their mixed martial arts careers in front of family and friends on Saturday, December 18 at nearby Grand Casino Hinckley. They are part of a Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fight card, which also includes Hinckley hometown sensation Tony Norlander, being presented by Little Bear Fight Promotions and Cage Fighting Xtreme. 

“The popularity of the sport and its competitive nature are what got me into it,” said Grabowski, a 1999 Mora High School graduate now living in rural Pine City. 

He and three other fighters on the all-pro fight card—Jason Benson of Rush City, Skadsheim of Pine City and Norlander of Hinckley—are a part of an area fight team called Barrage MMA, which trains at Grabowski’s home and at the Warriors Fitness Club in Hinckley.  Whereas, Selvig has been preparing for his fight with Team Amos in Rice Lake, Wis., and has bulked up his five-feet, 11-inch frame to be able to tango with Benson in a 155-pound bout.   

The angle on Selvig, a 2008 graduate of Cambridge-Isanti high school now residing in Pine City, isn’t hard to find.  Selvig is the grandson who when 18-years old, along with an accomplice, then-19-year old Sam Durkot, allegedly stole approximately a quarter of a million dollars from his grandfather on Christmas Day two years back.   

He then went on a shopping spree that included at least six cars, trucks, clothes, flat-screen TV’s and a computer, among other items.  He began handing out $100 bills to friends and told them they had won the money at a casino.  Selvig had stayed at his grandparents for approximately nine months prior to the incident and, luckily, authorities were able to recover over half of the money for them. 

Since Christmas 2008, fighting for a second-chance has taken on new meaning for Selvig. He readily admits the incident inspired him to pursue a dream of becoming an MMA fighter, an aspiration he’d previously left on the backburner.  That dream came full circle 16 pro MMA fights ago and he’s since fought all over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Selvig says he respectfully acknowledges the impact of the tragedy the incident caused for his family and pays tribute through his fights.  

“I don’t have the prettiest history but every day is another day in progress,” said Selvig.  “[The fights] help me relax and cope with stress and anger built up inside.” 

“Ever since my first fight, I fell in love with it,” said Selvig, who uses the moniker “The Pheonix”, a symbol tatted on his left rib to signify rebirth and a new way of life.  He hopes his newfound passion, along with his strengths in mauy thai, jiu jitsu and kickboxing, will help him move into the next chapter of his life. 

Besides the local rota, the fight sequence includes the main event—Dan Keiser versus Nate Schut—and also features Norlander, RT Hicks, Issac Herzog, Shane Jones Guy, Lucas Goulet, Jeremy Anderson, Wes Ronchi, Craig Early, Rocco Magorie, Will Kausulker, Fernando Violante and Dan Washburn.  It is subject to change based on final weigh-ins.

Tickets for the MMA – Minnesota Beatdown are not available through Ticketmaster.  To order tickets, which are $20-$50, call (320) 279-0831, or Barrage MMA (contact 763-447-8224) or contact Nathan Johnson at (612) 669-5945 or E-mail him at dragon.sports@hotmail.com.

Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Hinckley Events & Convention Center, and the first bout is at about 7 p.m. 

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