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December 12, 2010

A good "Omen" for western Mass MMA....

This past weekend we at WMMMA were alerted to some exciting mma news on the local scene. Rumor had it, that talented, eastern Mass pro fighter Damien "The Omen" Trites was moving to western Mass, and would be training and fighting out of American Martial Arts in Eastlongmeadow. Fellow WMMMA writer/video/photo guy, Joe Leonard and I took the hour ride down to AMA to get the story.
We got to AMA a little after 7:00pm, and walked in to the sounds of bodies grappling on the mats. Gabriel "Gladiator" Santos was teaching a gi BJJ class, and this was Damien's first practice with the new team. We were greeted by Karyn Wesch, Damien's new manager. She told me she was excited to have Damien training and living in western Mass, and she felt it would be a good change, to give Damien's fight career a new chance to flourish. As we watched everyone train, we talked a bit about some of her plans for Damien's career. She was hoping to have him fighting by early Feb, to debut the new "Omen". As we chatted, I watched Damien grapple with several different fighters, showing great technique and strength each roll. After about an hour, practice was over, and we got a chance to sit down with Damien for a quick interview.

We started with the personal fight stats...Damien "The Omen" Trites (6-4 pro) 5'11", walk around weight 180lbs, fight weight 155lbs, 31 years old. Damien stated that he's moved back to western Mass for now, to be with his family, and for a new beginning. He's excited to be here training with AMA, and working with his new manager.
I asked Damien about his most recent fight, one in which he lost to UFC veteran Dan "The Upgrade" Lauzon. There was a lot of build-up, and bad blood leading up to the fight, and now that it was over I wanted to know how Damien felt. He told me his feelings haven't changed. He still doesn't like Danny, but he accepts the defeat. Although he hates the fact that he lost, he took from the fight, a knowledge that he can compete at that level. He didn't get beat up, thrown around the cage etc, he got caught... Damien blames the the fact that he let the "big fight status" get to him. He was a bit overwhelmed by the situation, and it gassed him in the fight. In fact he felt tired leading up to the bout, and when he tried to take Lauzon down, he felt the choke being set-up, but froze. So although a disappointing loss, Damien will learn from it, and hopes to become a better fighter in the long run.

In this latest fight, Damien used a forward approach, with powerful well placed strikes, and clinch knees, pushing the pace of the fight, before succumbing to the choke. I asked about Damien's style of fighting. He mentioned, that alot of people take him for a striker, or brawler, when in fact his real love, and first true piece of his mma puzzle, is BJJ. Damien started training Gracie BJJ from a book he acquired back sometime in 2006. Together with current UFC fighter and sometime teammate John "Doomsday" Howard, he trained the moves he saw in the book, or to him at the time, his "Bible". Eventually Damien joined a Gracie school, and earned the rank of Blue belt, given to him by Royce Gracie himself. A relationship with the mother of his child would bring him to the Boston area where he hooked back up with Doomsday and eventually Wai Kru and began his mma career.

As I mentioned earlier, BJJ was Damien's first true martial art, and is still his true passion. He currently holds the rank of purple belt. He spoke of his love of getting on the mats, rolling with people, tapping, and getting tapped..he loves every part of BJJ. He said that when his fighting career is all said and done, he'd eventually like to "teach gi BJJ, smoke lot's of weed, and surf..." This was my perfect time to ask how he felt about the gi vs no-gi "controversy". I personally have never trained in a gi, and have only rolled no-gi. Damien felt that the gi help fighters become more technical in defending submissions. He also stated that he often could tell when a competitor or grappling partner had or had not trained with a gi. Maybe some day I'll try one on, but that's for another story...

We also talked about Damien's future in the sport of MMA. Damien started competing in 2006, and has had some ups and downs along the way. He's had injuries, and some personal set back's along the way, and hasn't fought as much as he's liked over the years, but he feels that is changing. He's currently healthy, and with his new re-location to western Mass, he's looking for a strong 2011, and a push toward his main goal, the UFC. Damien plans to keep working hard, and improving his game. He hopes to fight, (and win) at least 4-5 times in 2011 if he can stay healthy. He credits his former team Wai Kru, with teaching him the skills he has, and plans to pick things up from his new team and coaches to help reach his goal.
So, look for a big year from our newest western Mass fighter, Damien "The Omen" Trites, as he looks to make some noise in the local pro 155lb lightweight division. We at WMMMA wish him the best, and can't wait to cover his next fight!!

Damien also wanted to thank his new sponsor, Pain Management, for their support.
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