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December 23, 2013


[NEF Press Release]

Lewiston, Maine (December 23, 2013) – New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts (NEF MMA) today announced that one of Maine’s most popular fighters, John “First Class” Raio (1-4), has re-signed a multi-fight, multi-year contract with the mixed martial arts promotions company. It was also announced that Raio will return to the NEF MMA cage at “NEF XII” on February 8,, 2014 in Lewiston, Maine when he takes on Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (5-6) in an exciting featherweight matchup.

“John Raio is one of the most popular, recognizable regional fighters in New England mixed martial arts,” stated NEF MMA co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo. “We’re ecstatic that John has chosen to stay with NEF and see through the rest of his career with us. Since the beginning, we’ve always worked together to build the sport in the state of Maine—and it’s going to be a great start to 2014 knowing that we will continue to further those efforts for the foreseeable future while John is still fighting.”

John Raio made his amateur mixed martial arts debut at “NEF I” on February 11, 2012 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. After rattling off an impressive 4-0 record as an amateur, Raio made the decision to turn professional in November 2012. After losing his first four professional fights against tough competition, Raio secured the first win of his professional career back in September at “NEF X.” Now Raio is set to take on dynamic striker and Young’s MMA product, Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (5-6) at “NEF XII” in February.

“I’ve always said that John Raio represents the best of the sport of MMA as an athlete, and as a working husband and father that fights outside of his regular day job hours to grow as a person and to provide for his family,” stated NEF MMA co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. “John’s career will end right where it started—fighting for NEF. He will retire with us and for that, we’re grateful.”

“I want to thank Nick DiSalvo, Matt Peterson and NEF for allowing me to finish my career where it started nearly two years ago,” stated Raio when reached for comment. “It has been an honor to fight in front of so many fans and in the same arena of future greats like Ray Wood, Jarod Lawton, Jesse Erickson and my man Buck “Knuckles” Pineau, as well as all-time greats Marcus Davis and Tim Sylvia. This whole experience has been a dream come true and never would have happened without Buck, Glenn Cugno, Jon Pinette, and my beautiful wife, Jody. You guys are my heroes and I’m glad to call you my friends.”

NEF MMA’s next event, “NEF XII,” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with a bell time of 7:00 pm.  In the main event, Maine MMA legend Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-10) faces his former student “THE” Ryan Sanders (5-4) in a much-anticipated welterweight contest.  In addition, Maine State MMA Middleweight Champion Jesse Peterson (7-4) will return to action for the first time in nearly a year to defend his title against “Ruthless” Mike Zichelle (6-3).  Tickets start at just $25 and are on sale now or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525. For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF MMA videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”