Friday, March 30, 2007

Local fighters to mix it up in 'ultimate' weekend event

By Cyndi Caldwell

PACIFICA — Don't let Bryan Lujan's tough-guy appearance fool you. In the ring, he's a 204-pound force in one of the most brutal sports, "ultimate fighting." But outside competition, as soon as he smiles, he shows humor, honesty, and above all, humility.

Lujan is one of three Pacfica fighters who will compete Saturday in the mixed martial arts Gladiator Challenge card, CHAOS at KEZAR. The event is put on by Jeff Cairns' Pacifica-based promotion company, Full Contact Promotions.

The training is grueling and constant to prepare for an "ultimate fighting" competition that consists of a combination of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and a more traditional form of martial art, most commonly muay thai or jujitsu. Up until recently in California, ultimate fighting was banned because it was considered too violent and lacked guidelines. Since then, major promoters have agreed to a set of rules that make the sport safer.

"Like chess, it's mostly strategy," saidthe 34-year-old Lujan, preparing for his first professional tournament. "You have to try to anticipate what your opponent is going to do, and that's not easy."

His workout regimen consists of running three to four miles every morning. After work, he trains for three and a half hours at either Freestyle Submission Academy (on Westborough in Daly City) or with one of his trainers.

"I usually train about three or four days a week anyway, but in the last couple of months I train every day. I'm really excited that MMA fighting is a legal professional sport now. It gives fighters opportunities they didn't have before, and it keeps everybody honest."

After spending the next few years competing, Lujan doesn't want to teach the art, but said, "I'd like to help support some of the younger fighters, like Bobby Stack. I think he's a talented fighter, and I think he has a future in this sport."

CHAOS at KEZAR takes place this Saturday at Kezar Stadium, 755 Stanyan St., San Francisco. For event information visit

and to purchase tickets online, go to or call Full Contact Promotions at (650) 355-4327. Tickets are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50.

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