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August 25, 2014


[NEF Press Release]

 Lewiston, Maine (August 21, 2014) – On September 6 in Lewiston at "NEF XIV," Brandon Bushaw (0-0) will make his debut as a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor against Elias Leland (0-0) who will also be making his professional debut that night.  "NEF XIV" is New England Fight's (NEF) next event scheduled to originate from the historic Androscoggin Bank Colisee.  Recently, Bushaw called in to the NEF Podcast for an interview with NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.

Bushaw, who now resides in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a native of Westbrook, Maine.  He wrestled for Westbrook High School where he won two state championships.  After high school graduation, Bushaw continued his wrestling career at Michigan State University (MSU).

"While I was there (MSU) I was on the wrestling team," said Bushaw.  "With guys who made it big now.  Gray Maynard (11-4-1), Rashad Evans (19-3-1), Nik Fekete (5-1) who's fought in Bellator.  Some good guys I still keep in touch with.  Friendships that have lasted forever, so my time at Michigan State was great.  When I got done, I would say I was a little burned out, right out of college... I took a few years off.  I kind of got my career underway.  Seeing those guys succeed, it started roping me back in.  I started hitting the gym.  I caught the bug and fell in love with it."

Currently, Bushaw and his wife Cynthia own and operate a successful bar and grill out of Surfside Beach, South Carolina eight miles outside Myrtle Beach.  While the business and his MMA career occupy much of his time, Bushaw spends as much time as possible enjoying life with his wife and their toddler daughter Aria.

"My wife and I opened our own bar and grill August 9, 2004," Bushaw recalled.  "We really put our nose to the grindstone early on and kind of laid down the foundation of what the place is now.  Fortunately, we've had some really, really great employees who really care about the place.  That affords us to spend a lot of time with our daughter.  Obviously, Cynthia is a super cool wife who allows me to get all my training in, travel, fight, and do all this stuff at 33 years old."

Bushaw has amassed an impressive 7-4 record competing as an amateur in MMA.  On September 6th he will make his professional debut in the cage.  Despite his wrestling background and his success in the MMA arena, Bushaw insists that he never planned on a career as a fighter.

"The whole fighting thing was a bucket list," said Bushaw of his decision to begin competing in MMA.  "I don't want to look back years down the road and be like, 'Oh, I should've tried that.'  Of course, Jamie Harrison (4-1) was a very good friend of mine.  We were really good friends in high school.  He's fought for you (NEF) many times.  I saw he was doing it, so I started training in March and I hit him up like, 'Could you get me a fight?'  July 2nd of 2011 he got me a fight.  I went down to Jacksonville (Florida).  In my head I was like, 'What the hell am I doing?  I'm too old for this.  It doesn't make any sense.'  Of course, I went in and I won.  It was fun.  I loved it.  Now, here we are twelve fights later."

The bout with Leland will be the fourth time Bushaw has made the trip up north to compete for NEF.  He has been welcomed with open arms by the fight promotion's fans.  When asked why he enjoys fighting for NEF in his home state so much, Bushaw sites a myriad of reasons.

"It's the whole package," said Bushaw of his affinity for taking fights with NEF in Maine.  "You guys are very organized, structured.  There's no big surprises or anything...  For me, and I know (Bushaw's teammate) Amos Collins (3-4) who's coming up for his third time now, it's nice to get out of your comfort zone and go away... There's always been solid crowds with NEF.  Solid opponents.  You guys take care of the fighters.  You treat us very well.  That's why we keep coming back and hope to for years to come."

Bushaw's opponent at "NEF XIV," Elias Leland, recently received his Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) at the Academy of MMA in Portland, Maine.  Bushaw, himself, trains out of a BJJ school - Serra BJJ in Myrtle Beach.  On paper, it would appear to be a bout that would stay primarily on the mat, but Bushaw warns fans that anything is possible and they should expect the unexpected.

"I think you should see fireworks everywhere," exclaimed Bushaw.  "I think he's gonna want to get me to the ground.  I think he may think he has an advantage in the Jiu-Jitsu side of things.  He's a little more decorated on that aspect, but since I've been working with Frankie 'Patches' (Schauer) at Serra my game just grows every week.  I'm really comfortable on the ground as well, but I think you might see some fireworks on our feet.  I'm ready to bring it and stand and bang.  I hope he is.  The fight will probably go all over the place.  I look forward to fifteen minutes of standing, banging, ground, my back, his back.  I'm ready to go."

Although more than 1,000 miles separates Bushaw's new home in South Carolina from his native Maine, a huge fan presence can be felt (and heard) each and every time Bushaw and/or one of his teammates competes at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.  The rabid group of fans have nicknamed themselves "Bushaw's Brigade."  They are comprised of Bushaw's old friends, family, and fans from Maine, as well as new friends from South Carolina and other parts of the country who make the long trek to cheer him on.  Bushaw predicts his largest audience to date on September 6.

"So far we have fifteen people that are flying up into Boston on Wednesday night," Bushaw said of his massive following.  "The Brigade is just friends and family that kind of named themselves at my first fight.  We brought eighteen people, I think, down to Jacksonville.  They started calling themselves 'Bushaw's Brigade.'  They're a loud, wild, rowdy bunch.  Now we have the whole Maine people my sisters and I went to school with.  We have a whole section of them up there.  I know they've already bought tickets.  I think this will be the biggest crowd, the biggest Brigade showing so far for my fights up there."

You can follow Brandon Bushaw on Facebook at his official fan page "Brandon Bushaw MMA."  His restaurant, Island Bar and Grill Surfside, is located on Glenns Bay Road in Surfside Beach, South Carolina.  You can also learn more about Bushaw's team at their official Facebook page "Serra BJJ Myrtle Beach."

To listen to the full NEF Podcast interview, please visit

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, 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.”