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September 10, 2015


[NEF Press Release]

Lewiston, Maine (September 9, 2015) – A millennium ago, Viking raiders set sail from Scandinavia to wreak havoc through much of the known world.  From the British Isles down to North Africa to the shores of the Caspian sea, as far west as eastern Canada and all points in between, the ancient raiders pillaged and plundered their way into the history books as the most feared fighting force of the Dark Ages.  Among the Vikings, however, was an even more fearsome, uncontrollably-wild group of barbarian warriors.  Like an Old Norse version of a special ops team, they would storm into battle alongside their Viking brethren often demarcated by the pelt of a wolf that so often made up their uniform.  These warriors came to be known as Berserkers.   The savagery with which they fought was animalistic and makes up much of the legend contained in the Viking sagas.

Flash forward several hundred years to the present.  The setting is western Maine.  An elite group of wrestlers, all alumni of Mountain Valley High School (MVHS) of Rumford, a slew of state championships between them, form a mixed-martial-arts (MMA) team.  They call themselves Berserkers, and, like their ancient namesakes, they bring an unmatched ferocity with them each time they step in the MMA cage to do battle.  On September 12, 2015 in Lewiston, Maine, three members of the Berserkers gym will compete at New England Fights' (NEF) next MMA event, "NEF XIX," at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée.

"What makes us (Berserkers) unique is endless," said professional fighter Mike "The Mustache" Hansen (2-2) who will face Crowsneck Boutin (1-0) in a featured light-heavyweight contest on the main card of "NEF XIX."  "We are a catch wrestling school. 90% of our fighters are state champions and have great wrestling pedigrees. We owe this to Coach Gary Dolloff. You would be hard pressed to find a better wrestling coach in an MMA gym every day. He's also the president of our facility. We also operate in a unique relationship with our facility. Our program keeps fresh faces coming through the doors to help keep them open for the community, while the GRCC (Greater Rumford Community Center) covers our overhead. This allows us to offer monthly memberships to our MMA program and other sports programs at the GRCC for around $40 a month rather than $100+ like other gyms. We offer a unique, effective way to train that is affordable."

Hansen won a state championship as a heavyweight wrestling for MVHS in 2004.  After graduation that year, Hansen began training in MMA and soon won his first amateur bout.  He took the next decade off to serve in the United States Army as a Combat Engineer.  After retiring from the Army, Hansen returned to MMA and signed a developmental deal with NEF earlier this year.

 "It feels great to be fighting again. I was never completely away from it. While I was in the Army, I spent a lot of time with the Army C ombatives team. I feel alive when I'm training for a fight; when the gym is full it fuels my tank. I can't stop training if someone is training alongside me. I want everyone to embrace that feeling with me. My goals are to string some wins together and improve as a fighter. I have the same goals for my school also. We need to keep winning and make any losses more valuable than the wins."

Coach Gary Dolloff agrees with Hansen. Dolloff was responsible for coaching many of the current Beserkers from youth wrestling up through high school.

“Watching so many Mountain Valley wrestlers enter the cage is a thing of beauty because it’s such a natural transition from wrestling,” stated Dolloff. “I love watching them all be able to keep competing. It gives them a great outlet. They are true warriors and need to battle. Watching former Mountain Valley wrestlers step into the cage and do so well is not a big surprise to me. I’ve always thought that we had the toughest kids in the state right here in the River Valley and now they get to keep showcasing that under Berserkers.”

Ryan Glover (1-1) won a state championship wrestling as a heavyweight for MVHS.  That was in 2011.  A year earlier, Glover was a state runner-up.  He was also named the "Football Player of the Year" by the Lewiston Sun Journal in 2010.  On September 12, Glover will face the debuting Jason Field (0-0) of Auburn in an amateur heavyweight bout.

"At Berserkers, we are all from the same mold," declared Glover.  "We all have the same background and some really great coaches.  We are all just starting out so we're learning together.

"I'm going to go as far as this takes me.  It's still too early to tell how long I'll be able to compete in MMA. There are new, better fighters showing up every day, so we take it one fight at a time and if someday I become a pro caliber fighter, then we'll take it. If not, so be it."

Glover last appeared in the NEF cage this past June.  He met Billy "Bigfoot" Leahy (3-1), a former wrestler for Oxford Hills High School, to crown the first ever NEF MMA Amateur Heavyweight Champion.  Glover lost a close decision in what was a hard-hitting, physical contest.

"That fight was a lot of fun," said Glover.  "Even though I didn't win, I felt like I did win by keeping the crowd on their feet. The silence that was in the building as we waited for the judge's decision was priceless. Win or lose, I was there to put on a show and we did just that. I want to fight him again as soon as possible."

The Berserkers' Ryan Burgess (1-0) is nothing short of a legend of the MVHS wrestling mat.  With 150 career wins to his credit, Burgess captured a total of three state titles while competing in high school.  After high school, he would continue wrestling while at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.  Burgess sees both the parallels and differences between the sports of wrestling and MMA.  He won his amateur debut this past June at "NEF XVIII" in Lewiston.

"Stepping in the cage has the same atmosphere as a big wrestling stage, but your opponent is able to throw punches at you," said Burgess.  "In my first fight, I learned that I need to utilize all aspects of the game and not just rely on my wrestling to win my fights. My goals in MMA are to take the NEF amateur flyweight belt before I go pro as a fighter after I finish school in the spring of 2016."

Burgess is scheduled to return to the NEF cage in the spring of 2016.  He and his teammates at Berserkers have been diversifying their skills in recent months, working more striking and other forms of the martial arts into their combative repertoires.

"Berserkers fight club is unique, as we bring the wrestling game into MMA utilizing our abilities to transition positions and control our opponents to finish fights," Burgess continued.  "We have also been focusing a lot on our striking, and we are building a very well-rounded gym experience where our guys train their asses off and do what needs to get done."

Rounding out the pack of Berserkers competing on the "NEF XIX" fight card on September 12th will be Scott Godbois (0-0), who is scheduled to make his amateur debut that evening against Phil Pearson (0-0), in a welterweight bout.  Godbois and the other Berserkers will look to replicate the success of their teammate super-heavyweight Dave Smith (2-0) who has recently finished his first two opponents in the first round at NEF events.

Overall, the collective performances of the Berserkers have forced all on the regional MMA landscape to take notice.  Like their Dark Age namesake, they are here to pillage and plunder.  Unlike their Dark Age namesake, however, they are not here to collect their loot and sail back home.  Rather, these Berserkers plan to stick around and make an impact in the sport for some time to come.

"I feel our team is progressing well and we are right where we should be," said Hansen, who led the way for the Beserkers and is responsible for bringing the team together.  "We are new fish in a big pond. No one told the rest of the fish we are sharks, though. Teams around the state have had a jumpstart on what I have started here. They have great staff and coaches, numbers, and curriculums that have been established and proven. We are young and compete very well with these teams. Expect some new young faces, some athletic amateurs, and always exciting fights from us. Trust me, Beserkers is a team you want to watch in 2016."

New England Fights' next event, "NEF XIX," takes place on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine.  Tickets for "NEF XIX" 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.”