Here is a reprint of a story I did on Dan Cramer, the dude from Bethel who appeared two seasons ago on “The Ultimate Fighter” on SPIKE TV.
BETHEL — Dan Cramer, a 2003 Bethel High School graduate, won his first Ultimate Fighting Championship bout in front of 15,000 people at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The UFC is the premier league of mixed martial arts, a sport that now regularly outpaces boxing in terms of popularity and pay-per-view receipts. UFC fights combine boxing with wresting, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and just about any other fighting skill known to man.
Cramer, 23, won a decision Jan. 31 over Matt Arroyo during “UFC 94: St. Pierre vs Penn II.” About 1.3 million people watched the fights live on pay-per-view.
“The most people I had ever fought in front of way maybe 1,000 tops,” he said. “The adrenaline was incredible walking in. You hear the bass, the speakers, people screaming. It was a rude awakening fighting in a big pay-per-view event like that.”
Arroyo nearly won the match through submission, but Cramer remained calm and was able to feed Arroyo “a steady diet of elbows,” according to an account posted on MMAJunkie.com.
Cramer said he wanted to keep the fight standing up so he could exhange punches, but Arroyo forced them to go to the ground. Arroyo remained on his back for most of the fight, with Cramer applying an effective “ground and pound” offense.
When in greater Danbury, Cramer, a 170-pound welterweight — and one of the youngerst fighters in the UFC — trains at Best Way Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Danbury.
The Danbury gym is affiliated with American Top Team, the Florida-based gym where Cramer also trains alongside UFC vets such as Thiago Alves.
Cramer was scheduled to go back to Florida Sunday and hopes to have his second UFC fight within three months.
Last year Cramer appeared on the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” a reality show on SPIKE TV about aspiring fighters. It is the highest rated program on SPIKE.
Cramer, who holds an economics degree from the University of Connecticut, was supposed to make his UFC debut last year, but a broken collar bone kept him out of the octagon.
He earned $16,000 for the UFC 94 win, according to MMAWeekly.com. He makes extra cash in Florida by training other fighters.