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January 14, 2015


[NEF Press Release]

 Lewiston, Maine (January 13, 2015) –New England Fights (NEF), America's number-one regional fight promotion, presents its sixteenth mixed martial arts (MMA) event, “NEF XVI,” on February 7, 2015 in Lewiston, Maine.  The event is scheduled to originate from the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.  Earlier today, NEF announced that two of the three fighting Bang brothers, Steve Bang (3-2) and Sheldon Bang (1-1), would appear on the card alongside their father, Dr. Steve Bang (0-0), who will make his in-cage debut that evening.

"I cannot adequately put into words how honored and excited I am to be a part of such a unique event," said Dr. Bang.  "To my knowledge, a father and son have never fought on the same card at any level in MMA.  Not to mention a father and two sons!  We had a unique opportunity when the boys were young and I was serving in the Army at Fort Carson, Colorado.  With a thriving wrestling community, we were able to compete in several Open freestyle wrestling tournaments together, and I loved spending time with the boys and doing something I loved as well.

"For us, God comes first with family a close second.  I always taught and frequently asked the boys the first rule of brothers and they would reply 'stick together.'  I have been asked why I am doing this, why would I put so much of my success at risk for some sort of midlife crisis.  There is so much wrong with that line of questioning that I can't even begin to address it except to make two points.  The first is that at some level, this is what I have always done.  This is who I am and what I do, it is not a midlife anything only a continuation of what has been an exhilarating life.   To live your life in fear of what might happen, what kind of life is that?  Where do you draw that line?  Some people have used that line of reasoning and spent years inside their homes and never come out! The second point is just this... If you have to ask, you just wouldn't understand.  There will come a day when I can no longer do this, today is not that day."

"To fight with my dad is an awesome privilege that is motivating me to do better than I have in the past," stated the younger Steve Bang.  "I remember watching my dad (wrestling) when I was about three to four years old.  In fact, my dad is the reason we all became wrestlers in the first place, ultimately leading to me fighting."

Dr. Bang and his sons train out of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ), a Team New England United (NEU) affiliate located in the Bang's hometown of Auburn, Maine.  A native of Riverton, Wyoming, Dr. Bang graduated from Brigham Young University in 1994 and then from the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998.  He has spent the last two decades as a respected surgeon in the area of bariatric medicine.  At 46 years of age, Dr. Bang sees his foray into the MMA cage as a means to challenge and improve himself both physically and mentally.

"I believe that our purpose here in life is to grow and progress in order to reach our full potential," said Dr. Bang.  "This growth does not come by remaining in our comfort zones.  Solving problems and overcoming adversity make us better.  I am constantly looking for new ways to improve myself and testing myself in things that I'm not even sure I can do.  For me, some of the greatest challenges I have pitted myself against started with trying out for wrestling in high school, applying for medical school, becoming a surgeon, getting a private pilot's license, completing an ironman triathlon and now, MMA.

"I am nothing special, these are things that anyone can do if they were so inclined.  I just happen to feel an urgency in life.  There literally is not enough time to experience all that I want to do in this world.  For me, MMA is about the challenge, overcoming and improving.  Facing off against another well trained, intelligent, calculating warrior ranks among one of the greatest challenges we can face.  We will be providing each other the means to progress and improve.  Navigating life leaves you with cuts, bumps, bruises and other wounds.  We heal, we grow and we move on.  On February 7th we will battle and thereby grow together in the cage.  Afterward, we will tend to our wounds, heal, embrace as brothers and move forward with a unique bond that cannot be duplicated."

At "NEF XVI," Dr. Bang will meet another debuting athlete in the form of Matthew Hanning (0-0), an independent fighter, at the amateur lightweight limit of 155-pounds.  Dr. Bang is very clear that he does not settle for second best, and he will be looking for a win come February 7.

"I mentioned above that when all the dust settles, we will embrace with mutual respect and forever have a unique bond, but make no mistake, this is war," Dr. Bang continued.  "In the end, we will both walk away winners, but he is looking to take my victory in this battle and I am not accustomed to failure.  I know the steps to success and, so far, have checked the boxes, infallible execution of what remains will bring knowable results.  My strength is adaptability, but if I were to identify my greatest advantage over any contender, it would be my cardiovascular system.  If the opportunity presents, a finish at any time is welcomed, however, I look forward to dominating in the deep waters of the final rounds.  Come to be inspired, come to be a part of history in the making, come to be entertained, come to see if 45 really can still look like 20.  Whatever your motivation, just come, it will be epic."

The younger Steve Bang is coming off a loss at "NEF XV" this past November.  On February 7 in Lewiston, he will fight Jason LaChance (0-1) of MMA Athletix in Bath, Maine.  The bout will also take place at a weight of 155-pounds.

"Coming off of a loss, I've taken a lot of time to reassess myself," said Steve Bang.  "I never want to be gassed like I was in the third round again.  I've amped up my training to make sure that it won't happen again. The loss has motivated me to work a lot harder.  As for my opponent, I wish him luck and hope that he is training hard and that he brings his A-game, because I'm bringing mine.  I always want to fight my opponents at their best."

Younger brother Sheldon Bang is scheduled to compete on the card in the 135-pound amateur bantamweight division.  At press time, NEF matchmakers were working towards finding Sheldon an opponent as his previous opponent had recently pulled out of the fight.  Sheldon made his MMA debut last spring with an impressive decision victory over veteran Carl Langston (3-7) in Lewiston, Maine.  He followed older brothers Steve and Shawn Bang (1-1) into the NEF MMA cage.  In 2014, as a senior at Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine, Sheldon won his one-hundredth wrestling match along with a Class A State Championship.  Sheldon, along with brothers Steve, Shawn and younger brother Skylar, all wrestled as independents for Edward Little High School since the school did not have a wrestling program.  The brothers all traveled a half-hour each day to train with the team at Oxford Hills High School.

NEF's next MMA event, "NEF XVI," takes place on February 7, 2015 with an all-star lineup of fights scheduled.  NFL and UFC The Ultimate Fighter veteran Tyler King (7-2) puts the NEF MMA Heavyweight Title on the line against Terry "The Polar Bear" Blackburn (5-2).  In the feature bout of the evening, UFC, Bellator and Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell (10-5) makes his NEF MMA debut against Ryan Hodge (6-9).  Tickets 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.”