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August 11, 2014


[NEF Press Release]

 Lewiston, Maine (August 8, 2014) – On September 6 in Lewiston at "NEF XIV," two of Maine's most popular fighters, Bruce "Pretty Boy" Boyington (6-7) and Jesse "The Viking" Erickson (3-2), will square off in a five-round fight to fill the vacant New England Fights (NEF) Maine State Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Lightweight Championship.  Recently, Boyington, out of Young's MMA in Bangor, and Erickson, out of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ) in Auburn, were guests on the latest edition of the NEF Podcast in the premiere of a new segment known as "Head to Head."  Just four weeks away from their scheduled bout, and already neck-deep into their respective training camps, the two top contenders to the 155-pound title took time out of their busy schedules to answer questions from NEF matchmaker and co-owner Matt Peterson.

The fight, on the surface, would appear to be the classic "striker versus grappler" contest with Boyington, the Taekwondo specialist, trying to keep the fight on the feet and Erickson, the grappler, trying to take it to the mat and work submissions. Both athletes, however, acknowledge that the other may be more well-rounded than most observers would give them credit for, and neither considers the other to have any true weaknesses in the cage.

"Most people would say Jesse's more of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) guy and Bruce is more of a striker," said Boyington.  "But when I come into this fight, I actually look at it a lot different.  I think that we're two well-rounded fighters coming into the cage.  I think Jesse's striking looks great, so I'm not undermining that one bit.  Obviously, he's good at what he does on the ground.  I know a lot of people aren't afraid of my Jiu-Jitsu and I kind of like it that way, but it's not as bad as you'd think.  I think we're both really well-rounded."

"I actually agree with a lot of the things Bruce said," answered Erickson.  "We're both well-rounded and obviously, on paper, it looks like I've got an advantage in grappling and he's got an advantage in the striking.  But I've seen him in some sticky situations on the ground that he's come out of and looked really good with his Jiu-Jitsu.  I'm preparing for this fight wherever it goes.  I'm fully expecting this to be a war."

Regardless, both men have developed a game plan for the upcoming five-round title fight, and both men will look to implement that game plan.  The interview turned to the issue of whether Erickson could stand and exchange strikes with Boyington.

"I do have an intelligent game plan and I do hope to be able to execute it," said Erickson on countering Boyington's striking prowess.  "Your game plan doesn't always go 100% like you want it to when you get out there in a fight.  It's a fight for a reason.  He has an agenda.  I have an agenda.  We both want to do the things we're good at.  What do you do when those things don't work out?  It's 'what do you fall back on?'  That's when you really see who wants it more.  That's what I'm looking forward to finding out with Bruce September 6th."

"I think that Jesse thinks he can stand with me," replied Boyington.  "I think his striking is good.  I'm not going to downplay it.  I think he's come a long way in his striking and I'm not going to label the guy a 'Jiu-Jitsu guy.'  With that said, I do hope that he decides to stand with me because that's really been my problem with my past few fights.  I want to get another highlight-reel finish, but I haven't really been getting that opportunity because no one wants to try to stand with me."

Days before the interview was conducted, the two fighters and their supporters engaged in some banter on Facebook.  Erickson made a post that seemed, on the surface, to mock a post made by Boyington earlier in the day regarding the upcoming fight.  Erickson, however, maintains that any similarity between the two posts was mere coincidence, and he intended no disrespect of Boyington.

"First and foremost, I've always had all the respect in the world for Jesse because I've never seen the guy talking shit or doing anything bad, disrespecting anybody," said Bruce of the Facebook incident.  "I like this kind of stuff.  If we can give it more of a reason to fight, then let's fight.  This is where I think I've got an asset.  This is where I'm at an advantage.  I'll tell you my game plan.  I'll film it for you.  I'll show you all my training.  It ain't going to stop what I'm going to do September 6th.  What happened on Facebook... I said something the other day about doing great physically and mentally, stronger than ever, and I can't wait for September 6th.  A few hours later, I see a post that Jesse put on and he wrote down something like, 'I'm feeling the best I ever have.  Blah, blah, blah.  Talk is cheap.  Who want to see me win the title on September 6th?'  And then I get a list of messages from my friends and everyone's like, 'Hey, did you see what Jesse wrote?'...  It's pretty obvious what he was referring to...  I consider that a little too much of a coincidence.  To play it off like you weren't referring to me, it really just gives me more confidence going in."

"I had legitimately not seen his post," Erickson retorted.  "It had nothing to do with him.  I have zero reason to be passive-aggressive towards somebody that I get to be actually aggressive with in a few weeks.  There's no need for that.  I have nothing but respect for that camp and him...  It was just a weird coincidence."

"I can appreciate that," continued Boyington on the subject.  "If it was that much of a coincidence, then I apologize for being the way I'm being...  I have no reason either.  I don't need to go there, especially with somebody I've never had any beef with."

The interview then turned to the subject of John "First Class" Raio (2-5).  Raio is a good friend of Jesse Erickson, and the pair often cross-train at each other's gym.  Raio holds a controversial submission victory over Boyington earlier this year that Boyington and his supporters have chalked-up to a mistake by the referee.

"The thing with that fight, first and foremost, is that I really, really, really liked John Raio before that fight," recalled Boyington.  "For one, it just kind of really upset me to see him celebrating like he'd won when the guy had to have felt that he didn't even have a rear-naked choke on me.  And two, what really hurt career-wise is that I just turned around the things in my life and got to the point where I was performing where I should have always been.  I was ready to have a good win-streak going...  I was just really disappointed that it happened like that.  Obviously, anybody would be."

"He's given me a little insight here and there," said Erickson of advice he's received from Raio on fighting Boyington.  "He seemed to think my advantage was on the ground, as a lot of people would...  John's a good friend of mine.  We talk about stuff like that all the time...  I think Bruce was in a dangerous position and made a bad judgment call, unfortunately.  Who's to say what would've happened if that fight continued going."

As noted earlier, Boyington and Erickson are two of NEF's most popular fighters.  Both bring a huge fan-following each and every time they step in the cage.  "NEF XIV" will be one of the biggest cards ever staged by a regional promotion in New England.  In addition to the lightweight title fight, there are three other title fights currently scheduled on the event.  Boyington and Erickson touched on what it felt like to be featured in such a high-profile fight on such a high-profile card, and what it meant to each of them to have their respective sets of fans in attendance in large numbers to witness it.

"There's some big, big fights, I know that place is going to be filled," said Bruce of the upcoming "NEF XIV" event at the Colisee.  "I know it's going to be noisy.  I can't wait."

"I've already sold a lot of tickets for this show," replied Erickson.  "I'm just really happy my fans and my friends and family continue to support me and come out to watch me fight.  I love doing this, and I'll do it as long as my body allows me to...  I can't wait for September 6th.  It's going to be awesome."

You can follow Bruce "Pretty Boy" Boyington on his Facebook fan page "BruceBoyingtonMMA," as well as on Twitter @BruceBoyington.  You can learn more about his team by visiting their website

You can follow Jesse "The Viking" Erickson on his Facebook fan page "EricksonMMA."  You can learn more about his team by visiting their website

NEF's next MMA event, “NEF XIV,” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with a bell time of 7:00 pm.  In the main event of the evening, Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia (31-9) returns to Maine to face fellow UFC veteran Christian Morecraft (8-3) for the Super-Heavyweight Title.  Featherweight Champion Ray "All Business" Wood (4-0) returns from injury after a year of recovery against Brazil's Gabriel Baino (6-1).  Bantamweight Champion Paul Gorman (10-8) defends against Tim "The Terror" Goodwin (8-4).  Plus, Bruce "Pretty Boy" Boyington (6-7) and Jesse "The Viking" Erickson (3-2) will meet for the Lightweight Title, Ryan Sanders (6-5) faces Ryan Quinn (10-4-1), and John "First Class" Raio (2-5) competes in his final fight.

Tickets for "NEF XIV" start at just $25 and are on sale now at 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 videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”