BTC Fight Promotions brings professional MMA fighting to Limestone City

Serhiy Sidey, winner of the inaugural BTC Bantamweight Championship, at BTC Fight Night 19 in Kingston on March 18, 2023. Photo via BTC Fight Promotions.

On Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023, Kingston hosted its first professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fight, as BTC Fight Promotions brought BTC Fight Night 19 to the Limestone City. With a fight card that featured nine bouts, the event, hosted at the Leon’s Centre, showcased some of the region’s best up-and-coming MMA fighters, while featuring a number of international competitors, as well.

The night was a “massive success,” according to Patrick Duffy of BTC Fight Promotions, who said, “We had great support from the Leon’s Centre and a lot of local businesses. The turnout was great, and the crowd was electric. We couldn’t have asked for much more.” 

Founded in 2017, BTC Fight Promotions has become the region’s leader in professional MMA fighting, with 19 shows already in the books and several others on the horizon. “We primarily feature Canadian athletes that are building their name and growing their pro record,” said Duffy. “The best of these athletes can eventually make their way to international promotions like the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship], Bellator, and ONE Championship.”

According to the promoter, several of the organization’s fighters have already gone on to success in major international competitions. “Since we began, we have helped six athletes reach the UFC, including Jasmine Jasudavicius, Kyle Nelson, and Lupita Godinez. Our goal is to provide a platform for Canadian athletes to compete locally and reach the next level of competition.”

BTC Fight Night 19 included nine different fights, featuring a number of Canadian athletes, as well as some prominent international fighters. The evening’s main event saw Burlington, Ontario’s Serhiy Sidey defeat Walel Watson of UFC fame for the inaugural BTC Fight Bantamweight Championship, with Sidey winning by technical knockout (TKO). 

According to Duffy, Sidey has been a prominent success story for the organization. “He made his pro debut with us in 2018. He went 3-1 in his first four fights with us.” Since then, the Canadian has improved his record to 8-1 and is now on the precipice of UFC competition. Said Duffy, “He may get signed by them after this fight, or he may come back and defend his title later this year. There’s no set way to make it to a major organization; the path is different for everyone.” 

Aside from the main event, Saturday’s card also featured a number of fighters with local connections. Kingston’s Tyler Wilson, the only hometown fighter on the bill, defeated Blake Sigvaldason from Kelowna, British Columbia, in the first round by submission. There were also several fighters from Belleville in the lineup, including Zach Baldwin who won over Blair West via TKO.

Belleville’s Zach Baldwin wins his fight over Blair West via TKO.

With plenty of regional talent on display, Duffy spoke highly of the support from Kingston and the surrounding area, including from members of the local MMA communities. “Despite only having one fighter directly from Kingston competing at the event, we had amazing support from the local MMA community. We came to do a venue tour in February and stopped by all the local gyms to drop off posters, and they were excited to have us in town. We had two athletes from Belleville competing at the show, and they brought several busloads of people to come and watch.”

While the Kingston event exceed the organizers’ expectations, promoters initially had a different city in mind for BTC Fight Night 19. “Our original plan was to go to Belleville, actually. We had several athletes from Belleville making their pro debuts at the show,” remarked Duffy. “We almost secured the CAA Arena in Belleville, but they eventually told us they couldn’t accommodate the day we had scheduled the event on. So we needed to scramble… We contacted nearby venues in Kingston, Trenton, and several other locations.”

When promoters got in touch with the staff at Kingston’s Leon’s Centre, the two parties worked to bring a BTC fight to the city for the first time. “When we first communicated with the Leon’s Centre, we knew we had a great fit. They were really excited to have us at the venue and were amazing to work with. We’ve considered going to Kingston in the past, and the way things shook out, it ended up being the perfect time to go.” 

After a successful debut in Kingston, Duffy said BTC is exploring opportunities to return to the Leon’s Centre next year. “Based on the amazing response from the local audience, we would love to return to Kingston. We are already in talks with the Leon’s Centre to set up an event for 2024. The crowd was amazing, and the venue was great.”

As for the rest of 2023, BTC already has several fights lined up in the months ahead, with their next event scheduled for June 20 in Burlington, Ontario. 

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!