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August 16, 2013

After a Six-Month Absence, Ryan Sanders Looking Forward to Return to the Cage at NEF X

[NEF Press Release]

Lewiston, Maine (August 16, 2013) – Ryan Sanders (4-4) has every right to be frustrated.  After starting his professional fight career at 4-1, Sanders would drop his next three in a row.  Losses, however, are part of the game.  Any athlete will tell you that.  You play, you lose, and you go on to play another day.  Being forced to sit on the sidelines, unable to quench the competitive thirst, on the other hand, is a position that no sportsperson, nor any professional individual for that matter, wants to be in.  There could be nothing more frustrating.  Through no fault of his own, Ryan Sanders will have been on those sidelines for six months by the time he returns to the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) cage on September 21 in Lewiston.

On March 21 of this year, Sanders dropped his Bellator debut to Michael "Venom" Page (5-0).  Eager to once again climb into the cage with the prospect of getting back on the winning track, the Brewer, Maine resident immediately began preparing for a comeback performance at New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts' (NEF MMA) May 18 event.  Those hopes were derailed shortly thereafter when Sanders was issued a 60-day suspension from the Combat Sports Authority of Maine (CSAM) based on the knock-out loss suffered by the welterweight in the Page fight.

Unfortunately, that would not be the last roadblock Ryan Sanders would face on his return trip to the cage.  Never one to back down from a challenge, Sanders signed to face tough New Jersey fighter Manny Walo (3-1) at NEF MMA's "Nations Collide: Canadian Invasion."  Not only would the fight be Sanders' long-awaited return to competition, but it would also be taking place in Bangor, the first MMA event ever to be held in the Queen City, right in Sanders' backyard.  After months of training in preparation for the fight, disappointment struck once again.  The morning of weigh-ins, NEF MMA matchmaker and co-owner Matt Peterson received a call from Walo's manager informing him that Walo could not make weight and would not be making the trip to Maine from New Jersey.  Hours of pleading and promises to make concessions to Walo's camp from both NEF MMA executives and Young's MMA (Sanders' team) fell on deaf ears.  Sanders was once again forced to watch from the sidelines while his teammates competed on their home turf.

"As frustrating as that was for us as a promotion, I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating that must have been for Ryan," said Peterson.  "To put all that time into training and preparing mentally and cutting weight, and then to be told the morning of weigh-ins that your opponent decided not to make the trip... it's heartbreaking."

Rather than let frustration get the better of him, Sanders went back to the gym and trained harder than ever.  Opportunity knocked in the form of Josh Montoro (2-2) out of First Coast Full Contact in Jacksonville, FL.  That fight was signed this week and will be one of the feature bouts of NEF X on September 21 in Lewiston.

"I'm excited for this fight," said Sanders when reached for comment.  "I've been training harder than ever for this fight.  I'm looking forward to fighting in Lewiston and getting back to winning.  I'm gonna take him down and work my ground game until I submit him."

"It's good to have 'The' Ryan Sanders back," stated NEF MMA promoter and co-owner Nick DiSalvo.  "He headlined three NEF events in 2012.  He was a fixture in the early days of this promotion, and the last few events without him have felt like there was a big piece of NEF missing."

When the cage door closes behind him on September 21 in Lewiston, NEF X will be Ryan Sanders' time to "plow through frustration," and "push ahead."  On the other side of frustration, success is waiting for him.

“NEF X” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  Tickets start at just $25 and are on sale now at   The card will feature Maine State Featherweight Champion Ray "All Business" Wood (4-0) defending his title against Rhode Island's Joe Pingitore (4-0-1). Also scheduled is a 155-pound bout between Jon Lemke (3-1) and John Ortolani (7-7) to fill the recently vacated Maine State Lightweight Championship.  For more information on this and past events, please visit the promotion's website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”