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Cheyenne Hall – Not Just For Self-Defense

We are just two weeks out from Brawl in the Burgh! That seems pretty unbelievable, as it seems like just yesterday we wrapped up Steeltown Throwdown in early April. As we get close to these fights, I wanted to share with you about these fighters! Today we are taking a look at Cheyenne Hall, who is battling a newcomer, Mariam Salmassi!

Cheyenne Hall

Cheyenne is a HUGE fan favorite. The reason? Her matches are always exciting and have people getting out of their seat. But who is Cheyenne? Let’s learn a little more about her.

Cheyenne Hall started training for self-defense. Now it’s her passion. Cheyenne’s desire to protect herself started in her early college years where she was in a physically abusive relationship. The catalyst to her MMA career.  

Cheyenne, a WVU doctorate grad, currently lives in Morgantown and works in Clarksburg as a pharmacist. With a nudge from her father to check out an mma-style sport, Cheyenne began researching gyms in the area and landed at Ground Zero Fighting Systems with the intention to learn Muay Thai, steamrolling into more than she could have imagined. With encouragement from her coaches, she tried Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and eventually enrolled in tournaments- that she won, of course. This taste of competition ignited her love for the sport and led her to take her first fight. The competitive nature of the sport serves her well. The typical pressures many fighters face of the crowds and lights is now an afterthought because as a child, Cheyenne was a competitive gymnast who dreamt of competing professionally. This is now her reality. 

While Cheyenne Hall is a full-time traditional work professional, there is no shortage of dedication to this sport. During the days she works, she trains before or after work, often both, and on days off, she trains 8-9 hours/day.  “I love how fighting is constantly evolving. There is always something new to learn. It’s different in that way than basketball or volleyball or softball or track or any other sport I played growing up. Just when you have a move figured out, someone somewhere has already learned to counter that and you then have to learn a different move. There’s always a new skill to learn and master. It’s really a lifelong journey. You’re never bored.”

With a 1-1 mma record, Cheyenne has also competed in countless Jiu Jitsu matches, including the Arnold Classic where she won the blue belt Gi division- while she was only a white belt– all with a broken arm. After earning her blue belt, she also won both the gi and no gi blue belt divisions at the West Virginia State Games last year.

While they do worry, Cheyenne Hall has extremely supportive family and friends. “I am thankful for the support that I receive from family, friends, and acquaintances. I hope that my story can inspire someone to go after what they want, to live intentionally. I hope it inspires that little girl who wants to go out for the wrestling team, but who is worried about what people might think, to go out for the team and overcome her fear. I hope it encourages someone who’s been thinking about trying something new, but feeling unsure of themselves, to take the plunge. One day, I nervously walked into an MMA gym alone, to a class that was almost exclusively men that day, and said I wanted to learn how to fight. Talk about feeling unsure of yourself. But it was one of the best and most life-changing decisions I have ever made. I thank God for the ability he’s given me, for leading me down this path, and for keeping me safe. I say that prayer every night and every time I’m about to step into that cage. It truly is a feeling like no other underneath those lights.”

We are so excited to have Cheyenne Hall in the 247 cage. You should be too! Come watch Cheyenne in what is sure to be an amazing fight and night! Get your tickets now!

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Daequan Overton – You Won’t Amount To Much
Daequan Overton

Edwin Vera’s opponent for his debut, Daequan Overton, has an incredibly similar story to Edwin. Daequan was also born and raised in New York, except he was over on the other side of the state, in Buffalo, where he currently resides.

When he was 14 years old, Daequan move to Atlanta with his mom (Edwin moved to Atlanta as well). He returned to Buffalo in 2013. Daequan Overton was often discouraged in his upbringing, hearing and feeling that he wouldn’t amount to much of anything was a recurring thing.

It was while watching his uncle and cousin train at a boxing gym that really inspired Daequan to be led to MMA and to his current gym, WNY MMA & Fitness, which he got into about 18 months ago. He started training casually then, on a less serious schedule. As grueling as it was at first, Daequan started to see significant improvements after just a couple weeks. It was at that moment that Daequan Overton began to believe in himself and stop believing what he had been told so many times… that he wasn’t good enough or that he wouldn’t amount to much.

Daequan was still having difficulty making training a regular part of his schedule. At the same time, he was loving the sport and really desired to put his full effort into it. He expanded to taking BJJ about a year ago then his world was shaken.

His uncle, who he looked up to greatly, passed away of cancer. Several months later, Daequan Overton used the passion and ambition that his uncle had and directed it to MMA, wanting to see how good of a fighter he could become. He knew his uncle would stop at NOTHING to reach his goals, and now Daequan had the belief in himself and the motivation to give it everything he has.

This fight for Daequan is to see what kind of fighter he is, what kind of fighter he can be and to fulfill the promise he made to his uncle to keep at this dream of his with everything he has.

Buffalo MMA fans and the WNY MMA & Fitness family, come join us to see Daequan continue to reach for the stars, get your tickets now!

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Edwin Vera – I Found What I Was Missing

I’d like to share about another debut fighter for 247 Fighting Championship’s Brawl in the Burgh – Edwin Vera.

Edwin Vera

There are plenty of people that see MMA as something that it isn’t… I’ve heard words like “barbaric, too violent, brutal”. Now, I cannot argue that MMA is not a violent sport, but it is certainly not this awful barroom brawl that some make it out to be. It is actually very far from that.

It can have the opposite effect on a young man’s life. Save them from battling with the temptations that we are all often surrounded with. Such is the case with debuting fighter Edwin Vera. Growing up in the tough streets in the Bronx, Edwin always found himself on the wrong side of trouble. From fighting to getting In trouble at school, Edwin was headed down a very bad path.

It got worse. He was kicked out of school. That lead to a 5 year move to Atlanta. It didn’t get any better. He returned home from Atlanta and continued down that same path, surrounding himself with all the wrong people.

That is when big brother had to step in. You see, Edwin Vera has a scrappy brother who was being productive with himself. Oscar Vera was training MMA and he scooped Edwin up from the streets and talked to him about life and what MMA had done for him. He felt that it could do the same for Edwin.

Edwin was stubborn though, because he had never excelled at any sport. So he declined for quite some time until his persistent brother got him to finally agreed to give it a shot.

He started by training BJJ and Judo for nearly a year until he was just no longer able to afford the cost of classes and cost of living in New York. He ended up moving to Pittsburgh but did NOT go back to training at that time.

Years later, Edwin woke up one morning and told himself he didn’t want to live life with regrets, so he hit up a boxing gym in Tarentum and started training there. But there was still something missing.

That’s when life changed for Edwin. This is that pivotal moment, his ah ha moment! Through a bunch of research, Edwin Vera found The Mat Factory and his entire life changed. He was surrounded by discipline, dedication and most importantly, a new FAMILY.

He vows to not look back and says, “I’m going to be a champion and that’s a fact!”

You see, MMA isn’t just a bunch of guys getting into a cage and throwing haymakers. It is a test of hard work, skill, heart and determination. It changes peoples lives and their direction in life all the time. Just like it did for Edwin.

Come see Edwin Vera make his MMA debut on July 27th against Daequan Overton, who will also be making his MMA debut. Get your tickets now!

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PJ Mastrangelo – Fighting With A Purpose
PJ Mastrangelo

Sometimes you see a person on the outside and you make a bunch of assumptions. I think we all do it. When I got opportunity to actually meet PJ Mastrangelo, I saw what everyone sees on the outside. Good looking kid, tattoos, muscles.

Then you have the opportunity to interact. PJ’s a little on the quiet side, reserved. Not shy by any means, but he’s not loud and obnoxious like some people I know 🙂 (me).

Growing up in Monaca, PJ played just about every sport he could until middle school, including football, basketball and baseball. Then in 8th grade he found the sport that he was passionate about… wrestling!

His training led him to be somewhat of a local folk here in Monaca… Living right next to the high school, PJ Mastrangelo used to be known as the kid who carried a tree on his shoulders – something he learned from the movie Vision Quest.

PJ has a solid HS wrestling career… so much so that he was recruited to wrestle by Penn State Beaver! That all came to a sudden halt, however, when the wrestling program was cut by the school shortly thereafter.

PJ’s drive led him to continue to pursue competition in combat sports. That is when he met Lou Armezzani about a year ago. If you know him, to meet Lou is to like Lou. And he’s been mentoring PJ for the past year, getting him up to speed in his BJJ and overall MMA training.

This is where the story gets tough. You see, the title is “PJ Mastrangelo – Fighting For a Purpose”.

PJ is fighting someone else’s battle. Bullying is real and bullying is tough. Parents, have your teen and pre-teen kids read this. Because PJ experienced the sudden loss of his 17 year old cousin, Nicolina, in April. You see, the bullying that she was experiencing was so harmful and hurtful, so mentally devastating that it led her to do the unthinkable.

So PJ Mastrangelo fights. He fights to stand up and make a difference. He fights to help others who don’t have a voice… or at least don’t think they have a voice. He fights with a purpose.

Come see PJ fight for a purpose on July 27th. He would love to have your support and for you to join his fight against bullying.

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Cameron Allgeier to make debut!

Cameron Allgeier will be making his MMA debut at Brawl in the Burgh on July 27th!

Cameron Allgeier

Cam started wrestling in middle school by accident when a coach ran into him and told him he was going to wrestle since he already had all the paperwork in and hadn’t made the soccer tryout he was striving for. He stuck with it through high school, having average results.

When he came across some Kimbo Slice street fights on Youtube – then saw that he did it professionally, he became inspired. He found a gym to train at (Personal Training Tactics) for a while… then Cameron Allgeier went to college and stopped training.

Cameron then had a friend mention that he trained under Jason Dignan… and he soon after began training at Gorilla House Gym in Altoona, where he’s been training since under the tutelage of Ray Ross.

Cameron has some great training partners and has been cross training in preparation for his debut at various gyms in Pittsburgh, including at The Mat Factory in Lower Burrell.

There is a lot of confidence in Cam, by both him and his coaching staff. So much so, that they had no reservation in accepting his debut fight against a young man that has already stepped into the cage and competed two times. His opponent, Rodney Miracle, fights out of Michigan Top Team and sports a 1-1 record.

We can’t wait to have him debut in the 247 cage, as we have heard great things about Cameron Allgeier from 247 fighter Ethan Goss, as well as some other fighters who have spent time in the cage training with him.

The sky is the limit for this kid and July 27th is the beginning of his journey. We would love for you to be there to experience it.

Come see Cam and a bunch of other great local talent at Brawl in the Burgh, brought to you by 247 Fighting Championships!

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Many Thanks Are Needed – 247 FC

I am going to be using this blog space to share lots of stuff with you all and I’ll open it up to the rest of the staff here at 247 FC as well, but to start things off, there’s something that needs to be done.

Well where do I start? There were so many people… like a ridiculous amount of people, that took time and energy away from their families, away from their busy lives, to help to make Steeltown Throwdown such an amazingly successful first event for 247 Fighting Championships.

There were so many unsung heroes that it is almost hard to name them all. But I am going to try, regardless.

The Leadership Team – 247 FC

Now, everyone loves coming to the shows, but there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that almost nobody knows about. I have to tell you, I have a real gem in Liam Morris, 247 FC’s Matchmaker. He took on the most difficult role with a mountain to climb and just kept plugging away. Kept churning. He’s a beast. The perfect partner in crime.

Jim Mooney has been along for the long haul. We’ve been MMA buddies for about 10 years now and he’s been the guy that has always been by my side. We’ve shared our dreams and he’s always been there to help do whatever he can to make my dreams happen. In addition to his role with 247 Fighting Championships, he’s taken over and re-birthed the podcast, along with Luke Payson, MMA Fancast, and its amazing to see.

247 FC

Brian Smith, my brother in law, man, we’ve been through some stuff together. It’s great to see him excelling in everything now… mostly thanks to his woman who finally got that kid focused! One of the smartest dudes I know and I’m so excited to have him as a part of this team.

The Volunteers and Slightly Paid

A cage and trailer for the cage were bought for 247 FC, but now we had to go pick it up and load it up. I could not have been more proud of my son, Austin Middleton, for his hard work, as the two of us loaded the entire cage and all components into the trailer ourselves.

Special thanks to Reed Pirain, who drove out to Altoona with me in a 3/4 ton truck when my 1/2 ton truck couldn’t do the job (I’m pretty sure I’m getting harassed by that by him for the rest of my life).

So, this cage was bought but we had never put it together before. 2 weeks before 247 FC’s debut event, we got a team of guys together on March 22nd and Printscape Arena let us do a mock setup. We were limited with time so we got the cage up but not the catwalk or lighting tresses.

247 FC

Jim Mooney, Brian Smith, Jesse Acton, Stan Drutis, Steve Polombine and I got as much set up and understood as possible in preparation for the debut event for 247 Fighting Championships. I am so thankful for those guys!

The set up team arrived at 7PM on Friday night at Printscape Arena. This was the beginning of a very, very tough night. We had 5 no-shows that were supposed to help setup. So we only had half the crew we were expecting. Jim, Jesse, Brian, Steve and I were there at 7, Jake Slinger joined shortly after, and Stan had a kid with a medical issue so he wasn’t able to be there… until he did show up to help at 2AM! He stayed until the crew left at 4AM! So awesome.

So figuring out the catwalk and lighting tresses was a nightmare. Never having put them together before, it was a bunch of trial and error until it was all figured out and assembled at 4AM.

247 FC

There was still a ton of setting up to do and the crew was back at it at noon. Tear down ended around 1:30 or so.

This was a tremendous amount of work and we were so fortunate to have some awesome guys stick around to help teardown for 247 FC. Matt Sadowski and a group of guys from Morgantown that came up and helped work the show and helped tear down as well. Jermaine Moye, Travis Cowles and Tony Terradillas… thank you guys so much, you are lifesavers! Also big thank you to Rich Dixon, who oversaw the balcony security duty all night!

Thanks to Dan Altieri, Bill Harmon and Matthew Lucas for pitching in significantly. I know that I am leaving people off of here, that makes me the worst person ever. But I really do appreciate everyone!

Bubba Snider handled the play by play like the true professional that he is.

Concessions was planned and prepared by Tania Hellmann and Denise Middleton. Tania ran concession on fight night and Denise ran admissions. Tania oversaw an absolutely amazing team of Jen Mooney, Paige Hoban, Brenda Holt, Fawndessa Evanick, Monica Craig, and Paige Lubold. Denise worked admission with Shannon Berti, who kept her commitment to help even though she was not feeling well at all (you’re the best!).

Jennifer Finnell sang the national anthem. What a beautiful and amazing voice! She killed it!

Michele Kennell, you are awesome and I would love to have you continue to get shots for us! I’ll have a better plan for the July card if you are willing to do photography again for 247 FC!

And what can I say about Cody Sabol? This guy is one of the most talented human beings I know and is a star. I am so excited seeing his career take off and honored for him to be a part of 247 Fighting Championships, he is becoming more and more famous every day. If you haven’t yet, check out his IG.

The Hired Hands

We had a lot of help to do all of the things that we needed to do to make 247 FC the promotion we want it to be. The awesome promo videos were created by Fighting Chance Video Production. If case you haven’t seen them, check them out here. Domenic Porcari and his team are amazing, the hardest working group you could have.

Cut N’ Run Studios and Jordan McMillan took care of the video production for Steeltown Throwdown. They did a great job and we’ll continue to get better!

DJ Jack Millz took care of the DJ’ing. 247 FC and Steeltown Throwdown was his first MMA event and we look forward to making the next show something amazing!

We had a last minute ring girl cancellation and were so thrilled that Crystal Williams stepped up on short notice for both the weigh ins and fight night. Thank you Crystal!

Robert Craig had oversight over security and did a great job for 247 FC. We look forward to Robert continuing that role!

Drew Shannon is 247 Fighting Championship’s amazing ring announcer. Luke Payson did a fantastic job on the livestream with Bubba and with the in-cage interviews.

Printscape Arena is an excellent venue for 247FC and the people there are amazing to work with. Cody Skraitz and Zach Branovan are top notch guys.

The Fighters and Coaches – 247 FC

Then there are the fighters. Khama, you know how much you mean to me and 247 Fighting Championships. Ethan, great to see you get a big W and also get punched really hard :-). Brett, you showed a lot of heart. Tre, I am so excited to see you again and so is Dominique (she better be there next time). Adam, great win, we’ll get our act together next time. Alan, you have so much potential I am excited to see you fight when you aren’t feeling terrible. Rob, you’ll have more chances, it’s a journey and you should enjoy it.

For our blue corner fighters – Joey, you are a warrior and proved yourself big time. Elijah, thank you for punching Ethan really hard and we’d love to have you back. Dustin, class act, great win, would love to have you back at 247 Fighting Championships as well!

To the great group of WNY MMA and Fitness fighters, thank you! Jake, you showed true determination and grit after a really tough first round for you. Jamie, thanks for hyping your fight and for an awesome performance, Derrick you looked great in there even in a loss. Pat, that was a really impressive wrestling performance from someone who calls that his weakness. You all are welcome back at 247 Fighting Championships.

Coaches – you guys are all awesome and did a great job. Mike Wilkins, you’re a beast, keep investing in the younger guys. Mark, it was great getting to know you better. Mike Dub, thanks for filling out the entire blue side of our Ammy card. I am still mad at you that I see your face every time I hear Lady Gaga “Shallow”.

The Sponsors

I could not be more appreciative of the financial support that we received. Ken Sinagra is fully committed to Pittsburgh MMA. Seriously, this guy is the real deal. Fighters, coaches, fans… give this guy your business. He is a big reason why I was in the financial position to be able to start 247 FC – because I started investing with him 10 years ago and he is a wealth creator!

Legacy Remodeling and Jeff Moeslein have been amazing. So amazing that since they became a sponsor, they have also hired me to join the staff at Legacy. So I am only extremely biased when I say that Legacy Remodeling is the ONLY place you should even consider for your home projects, including windows, doors, siding, roofs, kitchens and bathrooms. Thanks for partnering with 247 FC!

Crossfit Mayview is such a great sponsor for 247 FC, they have a family environment and are so encouraging. BJ Boering is fantastic and runs a great gym! Chris Worstell of Applied Valuation Services is an amazing and generous man and a great friend.

Promark is a Cincinnati based company that just opened an office in Pittsburgh, they provide HR services to organizations to include outplacement, career management, executive coaching and leadership development services. Bill Harmon is the guy you want to talk to. He’s also an amazing guy and a valued sponsor of 247 Fighting Championships!

Remembered Roots is a great, new local business in the South Hills of Pittsburgh providing gravesite care and historical research. They do fantastic work and really help you to honor the loved ones that are no longer with us. Contact them this Memorial Day to honor your loved ones.

You are all a part of something special. We are just starting and I can’t wait to see how God continues to work in 247 FC!

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