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January 31, 2020



Portland, Maine (January 22, 2020)

Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8 promise to be a heavyweight weekend in Portland, Maine for Brad Lee.

On the opening night, Lee will put his lungs to the test as lead vocalist for a hardcore band known as Instigate, which will hold a CD release party in conjunction with its performance at Geno's Rock Club.

Then he'll exchange the microphone for a pair of gloves and attempt to play a two-fisted tune on Ras Hylton in the New England Fights mixed martial arts cage.

Lee will make his MMA debut against the veteran Ras “Rasquatch” “The Jamaican Shamrock” Hylton (4-3) in a professional bout at NEF 42: “Symphony of Destruction” inside another renowned concert venue, Merrill Auditorium.

“I absolutely want to make a living out of it,” Lee said of his immediate jump to the pro ranks after a diverse combat sports upbringing. “I feel that I'm fairly marketable. I think I can make a bit of a splash in this corner of the world. I would say I have humble confidence.”

He's more understated about the musical exploits. Lee characterizes that side of his performance artistry as the typical garage band with small dreams.

“It's been a huge part of my life. If you're a big kid with a skateboard, it's probably going to lead to music and fighting eventually,” Lee said.

“But it's definitely not about the money,” he added. “It's literally a band of friends doing it to hang out with our other friends on the weekend. We couldn't (care less) about stadiums. We're not Metallica. It's just a hobby. It's an outlet for me to get out the (stuff) that's in my head. It's just a hobby.”

In the same way that new fighters are required to earn their way upward on fight posters, Lee, who said he “dabbles” with guitar, sounds most excited about the New England-based bands with whom Instigate gets to share the stage.

“Death Before Dishonor and Cruel Hand, if you know anything about that scene, those are big names,” Lee said. “It would have been a great show regardless of whether we were there or not.”

Turning pro in the NEF hexagon without any amateur background isn't the typical journey, but Lee saw it as the wisest path after a frustrating year of trying to locate willing opponents.

Most potential foes, he said, were intimidated by his 6-foot-4 frame and what was then a walking-around weight of more than 300 pounds. The heavyweight limit is 265.

“I had five different opponents with three different promotions, including NEF, cancel on me. I had fights where the opponent took the fight with me, backed out, and then took a heavyweight fight on the same card,” Lee said. “I don't want to mention names, but one guy in Ras' circle (did that). I just got fed up and annoyed with guys holding back my career.”

Lee said he eventually contacted NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson to inquire about the pro landscape within his promotion.

Hylton, who casts a similarly imposing shadow at 6-6, is coming off a sequence of two losses in his past three appearances, including a knockout loss to Chris Sarro – another fighter making his pro debut – last September.

“Matt put Ras out there. I watched the videos and talked to my coaches and went ahead with it,” Lee said. “He's coming off two hard fights. He seems like a respectful guy. I'm sure some people in his camp think I'm a (jerk). The thing about me in the social media world is I only release what I want people to see. People can talk (crap) all they want.”

In one of his videos, which Lee entitled, “What Makes a Pro a Pro?,” he breaks down what he considers the misconception that an amateur career is a necessity for MMA success.

“Look at Jon Jones. Now, I'm not saying I'm Jon Jones, but he became a world champion without any (martial arts) belts at all,” Lee said. “So what is it? Is it that he can knock guys out? I've knocked out a bunch of guys in my life. Is it his cardio? My cardio is pretty good.

“You know, I just got tired of waiting around for other people. When I was getting ready to fight about a year ago, I realize I was right at the top of the weight class, but it's like people were scared. I mean, if you don't want to be a heavyweight then get down to 205 or whatever. I'm a lot lighter and in better shape now. People probably would have been better off fighting me last year.”

Boxing and judo are the primary skills in Lee's tool kit, although he describes himself as a voracious cross-trainer.

“I think the MMA world sleeps on boxing quite a bit,” Lee said. “Muay Thai seems to be the thing, but the Muay Thai guys get their faces hit a lot. But I train anything and everything. I'll do Tai chi in a park with somebody if it helps me get better, I don't care.”

Lee, 29, is based out of Paladin Combat Sports in Clinton, Massachusetts, where he said he will stack up his schedule and intensity level against almost anyone his size in the combat sports game.

“Win or lose, I'll be back in the gym on Monday. Compared to what I've seen from most UFC and Bellator heavyweights, I work out harder than most of them,” Lee said. “I was 316 pounds less than a year ago. If anyone wants to check me on my motivation or dedication, tell them to check the scale (at weigh-ins) on February 7.”

After that, fans are invited to follow Lee down the street to Geno’s and listen to him pursue his other passion the night before he makes his debut in the NEF cage.

New England Fights' next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 42: Symphony of Destruction," will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. Tickets are on sale now at