Maynard opponent revealedBy Brian Knapp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, 11:00 p.m. ET: His name is Bryan Fry.
Now, the MMA world knows who will stand across the cage from him.
Maynard and his opponent, Fry, made weight at the official weigh-in on Friday and will meet in the main event of the nine-fight card. Fighting out of Baraboo, Wis. -- the former home of the Ringling Brothers Circus -- Fry owns a 0-2 amateur record.
“I’m not really familiar with him at all,” Maynard said. “I don’t really know his style. I think that’s, in a way, a positive thing. There will be less overanalyzing on my part.”
One the eve of his first appearance in the cage, Maynard’s participation in a gladiatorial sport has stirred debate on both sides. Denied a license by the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission in 2007, he instead set his sights on Alabama, which has no governing body to oversee and regulate MMA competition.
Because of his disability -- he was born with no hands, two rounded stumps at the elbows and two short appendages with deformed feet at the knees -- many do not believe the 23-year-old should be allowed to compete and think his being injured in the fight could leave a permanent stain on the sport.
“Anyone who looks at my credentials, at what I’ve done in my past … I’ve suffered injuries, whether it’s in football, in wrestling or in power lifting,” Maynard said. “Jiu-jitsu and MMA are really the only things I’ve never gotten hurt doing. When I tell people about injuries in those sports, people’s reactions aren’t that I shouldn’t participate in those sports.”
Maynard believes he can bring positive attention to a sport still struggling to shed its barbaric stigma.
“I think there’s a tremendous amount of good that can come from this, with all the attention this fight has gotten,” he said. “We’re bringing a legitimate show to Alabama. They’re going to see what MMA is all about. Once the national media sees that, I think it can definitely open up some doors to make people aware of what we do. I have an advantage in being able to reach that market.”
When asked whether or not he planned to compete beyond this initial bout, Maynard was non-committal.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “It took me 35 times to win my first wrestling match [in high school]. It’s going to be hard to keep a semblance of good looks if I have to go through 35 MMA fights to win. I’m just excited this is going to happen. I’m not sure what’s going to happen after it.”
He has only one “legitimate” concern entering the match with Fry.
“In any fight, regardless of how you see it, there’s the possibility of getting knocked out,” Maynard said. “Look at the Keith Jardine-Houston Alexander fight [at UFC 71]. If that was the only fight we had seen of Keith’s, we never would have known Keith was capable of competing at the highest level. There’s always a chance you could get caught. If that were to happen to me, it would only add fuel for the naysayers, and getting another fight would be tough.”
Auburn Fight Night will be carried live on Internet pay-per-view for $14.95 at www.KyleMaynardFight.com.