Although he is young, Curtis and United Fighter Thunder Bay is based on a strong foundation of proven Canadian talent.
I have been blessed to have been able to train with so many amazing people, from so many amazing teams, Team Tompkins, The Blackzillions, United Fighter all have the same thing in common, they look after each other whether your a beginner or pro.
That team spirit, that feeling I can't put into words but it is what started it for me, I still get the same feeling when I train at Adrenaline in London or United Fighter in Kenora and it is something I want to share with people in Thunder Bay. We will never say things like we are the best at anything or the best anywhere, or any other ego driven nonsence. I am proud of the oportunities I have had and would rather simply state we are willing to share what we know to help you reach your goals whether it is fitness or competition.
We have had a few great wins fighting under Jesse and Chris's United Fighter Banner so we figured it was time to bring United Fighter to Thunder Bay. When we took our first fighter to his first event, Matt "Slim Shady" Krummenacher opened the show and won his fight via TKO in the second round at a later kick boxing event Curtis Richard won his fight via TKO second round and later in the year at the prestigious RITC MMA event in Lethbridge Alberta Curtis Richard won a unanimous decision and fighter of the night honors. We are looking forward to the future as our up and coming male and female fighters train in Boxing, Kick Boxing and MMA.
Curtis is an amateur MMA fighter, amateur kick boxer, a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, a level 1 boxing coach and a certified kick boxing canada instructor.
Our Big Brother club United Fighter in Kenora, Ontario
I first met Jesse when I was 16, my first fight was against one of his guy's, I lost but in the bigger picture I won that night. I saw how Jesse and Chris looked after their team and the way they looked after each other, in a strange twist of fate my dad was asked by his work to look after Kenora. He reached out to Jesse about me training there and the response was an enthusiastic yes!
I began training with the United Fighter crew 3 - 4 times per month eventually asking Jesse and Chris to corner me in my second fight. After winning the fight I was in the dressing room, Chris and Jesse approached me telling me they had discussed it with the guy's on the way to Estevan and they wanted me to be a part of the United Fighter Team. of course I said yes and Jesse gave me a team shirt that proudly hangs in my gym today.
Jesse is a great guy, he is as much my big brother as he is my coach, his coach Chris Harper is another amazing guy, a wealth of knowledge and an amazing coach. When I was out of school every chance I got I took the bus to Kenora, slept at Chris's house and trained with the team, they have always refused to take a dime from me, no egos, no drama just good people.
Jesse and his trainer and business partner Chris Harper, founded the United Fighter Kenora MMA Gym in September 2008. It has been a lifelong dream, to teach and share their knowledge with people wanting to learn the sport of MMA, as well to watch others excel in what they are passionate about.
Jesse started his career in 2002 and holds ranks and titles such as:
- Amateur Canadian Welterweight Champion
- Amateur Western Light Heavyweight Champion
- 2X Professional TKO Welterweight Champion
- Professional R.I.T.C. Middleweight Champion
- Professional R.I.T.C. Welterweight Champion
- UFC Veteran
Jesse Bongfeldt, a UFC Veteran, recently received his Black Belt in bjj under professor Roy Harris.
Professor Rowan Cunningham from Adrenaline
Professor Rowan Cunningham
I first met Rowan when I was 15, I was invited by Shawn Tompkins to Adrenaline in London Ontario to train with Team Tompkins. Shawn's fighter, Mark Hominick was preparing to fight Jose Aldo for the UFC title, Shawn had brought guy's up from the States for the training camp, to be invited to be a tiny part of it was an amazing experience.
While there I participated in Rowans morning jiu jitsu class and he was straight forward and honest about my jiu jitsu, kinda hurt to hear the truth but he then went out of his way to work with me one on one showing me all the little mistakes I was making and how to correct them, we talked and I left there feeling great having learned so much and yes I was back for more the next morning. I continued training with Rowan and his coach Jesse Gough everytime I was in London taking his regular classes as well as private lessons.
Rowan is my coach, mentor and friend... Pal..
I was awarded my purple belt from Rowan in September 2016 and am proud to be representing Cunningham Jiu JItsu here in Thunder Bay.
Rowan Cunningham is a decorated professional MMA fighter (Canadian welterweight champion), a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and an accomplished amateur kickboxer. Professor Rowan Cunningham currently teaches BJJ at Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and Chris Horodecki's Adrenaline Training center in London Ont. Rowan received his black belt and professor status in brazillion jiu jitsu from Keebo Robinson who in turn received his from Robert Drysdale one of the most recognised BJJ coaches in the world.
Rowan Cunningham received his black belt and professor status in brazillion jiu jitsu from Keebo Robinson who in turn received his from Robert Drysdale one of the most recognised BJJ coaches in the world.
Henri Hooft And The Blackzillions
I was sponsored by JACO as a junior amateur athlete and part of the sponsorship was free traininig at their JACO Hybrid training center in Boca Raton Florida.
I was able to travel to Florida and train with them on a number of occasions. While there I was fortunate to train with numerous UFC fighters including Rashad Evans, Anthony Rumble Johnson, Matt Mitrione Thiago Silva, Micheal Johnson and Vitor Belfort and the Blackzillions head coach Henri Hooft.
The Blackzillions was an amazing experience however with the UFC's Reebok deal JACO was forced to dissolve their amateur program and to be honest there just wasnt the feeling as I had with my Team Tompkins family, I chose to return to training at Adrenaline in London Ontario.
Shawn Tompkins "The Coach" and Team Tompkins
This starts with another fluke, My Dad was flying to Winnipeg, he sat next to a stocky blond guy and they chatted, it didnt click right away but when he realized who Shawn was and because I was traininig locally it turned into a discussion about training mma. My dad was so impressed with Shawn he told me to step up my game and he would take me to meet this amazing guy he had met.
Him and Shawn kept in touch via text and I busted my butt training, worked my left hook to the body like crazy and it happened.......
I first met Shawn in Las Vegas when I was 14, Dad set up a private session and we worked on various things in the cage, after training Shawn drove us around Vegas talking about training the lifestyle asking questions and outlining where he felt I needed to improve. He dropped us off at our hotel and to my surprise I was invited back to train the next day. It was labor day, the gym was closed, we arrived early anxoiusly waiting to see what would come next. Shawn arrived followed by guy's like Vitor Belfort, Kevin Randleman, Mark Hominick, Vinnie Magalhaes, Chris Horodecki etc.
Shawn had invited me to join the Team Tompkins Pro Training Session, I got my butt handed to me over and over but I loved every second of it, I swear I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time.
I returned to Vegas the following year and was then invited to train with Team Tompkins when they came to London Ont, Shawn and I kept in contact via social media regularly, in fact we had arranged a training session just weeks before he passed away, I still went and trained but there was a dark cloud over the gym, R.I.P. Coach.
In yet another strange twist of fate when outfitting the new location we purchased about half our tatami mats and all sorts other of different items from a gentleman in southern ontario who was down sizing and closing his personal Karate studio that he used primarily for testing his students. When the items were delivered to us we and were talking face to face we discovered more about the gentleman we purchased everything from. His name is Ken Tallack, Ken is a past UFC Canada comissioner, a Canadian Karate legend and was Shawn Tompkins Karate instructor. The mats and other items we purchased were used by Shawn during his karate black belt testing to add to it another Canadian MMA Legend, Carlos Newton had rolled on those same mats as well. I'm not sure whether it's a small world, a coincidence, a fluke or fate but I'm very proud to now own and be using in my gym items that were used by Canadian legends including the person who had the biggest influence on me to train hard and succeed in kick boxing and MMA, The Coach Shawn Tompkins.
Quote from Ken Tallack from his most recent conversation with my Dad:
"Please give my best to your son, and remind him that he follows the footsteps of legends every time he steps on the floor." - Ken