Feature Story                                                                                                 Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The Ring Ain't the Thing

Warpath VI warriors battle it out in the cage

Staff/Voice photos


Kolton Higginbottom holds an arm up in celebration as his coach Darwin Douglas hangs the title belt around his waist. His opponent, Andy Padda looks on.


Warning: Graphic Images


hen you go to the Friday night fights, you want your money's worth. You want fighters at the top of their game. If you're a guy, you want hot girls and cold beer. You want loud music, laser lights and smoke machines. You want value-added. Bring it. This is the Friday night fights and its going to be loud.

A limo pulls up out front, a fighter emerges sporting a pair of beautiful girls on his arms. The warrior shakes some hands, gets some pats on the back on his way into the arena. It's all part of the glitz and the glory of fighting.

The ring ain't the thing—the cage is the rage now for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Chilliwack.


On May 2, fight promoters Darwin Douglas and his wife Francine ushered in new era by bringing in the cage for Warpath VI at Atchelitz Hall. It was a first for MMA in Chilliwack.

It was a full house on Friday. VIPs had a catered dinner.

As a fighter, coach, promoter and a gym owner, no one undersands the MMA better than Douglas. The 41-year-old is a ranked fighter in Vancouver's Battlefield League. He was recently granted approval for his promoter licence, and almost immediately annouced the May 2 contest at Tzaetchen Hall.

A few months ago, Douglas moved his Four Directions gym downtstairs in Building 7 at the Stolo Resource Centre on Vedder Rd.

Cody Wilson waits for word from the judges on his match with Jujhar Atwal. Below, Kolton Higginbottom concentrates while entering the cage for his title fight with Andy Padda.

"Our goal is just to promote health and fitness through MMA," said Francine Douglas who co-owns the gym with her husband.

The tall and gangly Kolton Higgonbottom (5-4-0), from Ts'kw'aylaxw band in the BC interior, is one of Four Directions star battlers. He headlined the card against seasoned short and squat scrapper Andy Padda (5-3-0) out of Abbotsford.

It wasn't evident that it was a homer crowd until the referee signalled that Higginbottom won the 4-round fight. Then the room erupted in a timber-rattling roar.

"Higginbottom's tough, not many can beat him in his weight class," said someone sitting at ringside.

Andy Padda couldn't that night.

Cody Wilson was outside the Hall after after his fight just chumming with pals. He lost his fight and took it well. He had a small cut on his cheek.

"It's just a scratch. Nothing,"he said. "Just par for the course."

"I had him on technical ability," he said about his match with Jujhar Atwal.

A fighter climbs into the cage. Below, Jamie Siraj at Four Directions Gym on Monday.


Wilson's right. He did fight a good technical battle but Atwal racked up the points with some heavy hits that rocked Wilson's small frame. The hammering eventually took their toll on him and the fight was called.

Some leagues in the US and Ontario are de-caging because fans can't see clearly from every seat in the house like they can in a ring. They pay the ticket price to watch it live and end up watching it on the big screen because they can't see the action. So they let the fans decide and they wanted the ring back.

Jamie Siraj has been training and fighting under Douglas' tutelage for years. He likes the cage and says it helps his style of fighting.

"It's easier to pin your opponent in the cage," he told the Voice Monday, sweat pouring off his face at the Gym. "Plus, guys don't fall out like they do in the ring and risk being hurt."



Championship Title Fight
Kolten Higginbottom vs Andy Padda (170lbs)

Justin Auld-Field vs Wally Joe (175lbs catchweight)
Mikel Dupont vs Tristan Sergeant (205lbs)
Tom McCormick vs Kyle Yamelst (175lbs)
Dakota O'Connor vs Trevor Gill (155lbs)
Cody Wittman vs Mike Morley (190lbs)
Dustin Parsons vs Binderpaul Nanara (125lbs)
Cody Wilson vs. Jujhar Atwal (150lbs)

*Winners denoted in red.


Awesome sound and lights brought to you by Jeff Bonner and Tractorgrease.

Four Directions Martial Arts 7-7201 Vedder Road, Chilliwack, BC www.warpathmma.com and  www.fourdirectionsmartialarts.com

See more photos below.



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