Hooben Ready for His MMA Homecoming

Nov 24, 2012
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Heavy-handed light-heavyweight MMA fighter Alec Hooben knows his training was disturbed by Hurricane Sandy, but the 20-year-old Marine Reservist says he will adapt and overcome.

I'm not the most prepared I've ever been, but I doubt he is either. Training was interrupted for him too, so I'm not too worried," said Hooben (2-1) of the abbreviated preparations for his match-up against Ray Bartee in one of the supporting bouts this Saturday, November 24, on promoter Hani Darwish's EFC 5 "Undisputed" event at the Police Athletic League Hall of Parsippany, New Jersey.

EFC 5 "Undisputed" will feature EFC Heavyweight Champion Gil "Blackout" Isabel of New Jersey making his first title defense in the three-round main event.

"He drops his hands a lot; I noticed that," said Hooben of Bartee, "He looks like a Muay Thai guy too, but he shoots when he's in trouble. I think I can take him standing and on the ground. It all depends how he fights, but if he stands and fights, I'll be looking for the KO and I think I'll get it."

Event promoter, Hani Darwish, says the Hooben vs. Bartee fight has the potential to steal the show: "These guys are both good on their feet and they both have the ability to end it with one good shot. This one could easily be a war, especially if they're both able to take each other's power a little bit. But it really could end any second."

Hooben trains under Mike Constantino at the AMA Fight Club in Whippany, New Jersey, alongside established names such as Jonathan Helwig and Dan Miller.

"I pick up things from my training partners more than anything. I'm mostly a Muay Thai guy with good Jiu Jitsu and my wrestling is getting better. My stand-up stands out though. I do everything equally, but that's where I'm best. I'm well-rounded, it's not as if my ground game is non-existent, but I'm most comfortable standing."

A resident of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, Hooben says fighting in his home state for the first time (all his previous bouts have been in Pennsylvania) will be part of a dream he had years ago.

When I first saw MMA on TV, I said I want to do this; it looks like fun. I was drawn to it. I figured out that I could make a career out of beating people up and getting paid for it."

Hooben's other job is in the Marine Corps Reserve, where he is one year into a six-year contract. Barring unexpected deployment overseas, Hooben says he's ready to start climbing the ladder towards his goals in MMA.

"My goal is to fight every month and if I win this one, ideally, I'd like to fight next month for a title. And then maybe in early 2013, I'll go pro, hopefully. A lot of people think I'm ready and I agree. I am."

$5 from every ticket sold to EFC 5 "Undisputed" will be donated to The Community FoodBank of New Jersey to help those in need after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the state.

Those wishing to purchase tickets are recommended to do so as soon as possible by visiting Extreme Fight Club (10 Squirrelwood Road Woodland Park, NJ), online atwww.efcmma.comor by phone 973.653.5449. The remaining seats are priced at General Admission (Standing Room Only): $35.00; General Admission Seating: $45; Cageside Seating: $65; and VIP: $100.

On fight night, doors open at 6 pm and the first bout is at 7. The Police Athletic League of Parsippany is located at 33 Baldwin Road in Parsippany.

About Extreme Fighting Championship: Extreme Fighting Championship is owned and operated by CEO Hani Darwish.

Darwish has achieved a great amount of success in the fight game, as the founder of premier mixed-martial-arts facility, Extreme Fight Club, in Woodland Park, New Jersey, and, before that, half of the well-known fight promoting duo "The Darwish Brothers Knockout Promotions".

37-year-old Darwish found his way to combat sports starting in childhood when he began training with his four brothers under the direction of their father, a long-time veteran in mixed martial arts. He went on to win over 100 grappling tournaments and also attributes some of his success to his private training under John Monaco, a three-time Division III All-American at Montclair State and perennial Greco-Roman Olympian wrestler, Momir Petkovic (1x Gold, 3x Silver, 1x Bronze), current coach of the USA Olympic Greco Roman wrestling team.

Darwish has studied in numerous styles of fighting and has an extensive background in Boxing, Submission/Freestyle/Greco Roman Wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Kung-fu, Muay Thai, Freestyle Fighting and mixed martial arts.

Along with his older brother Wally, Darwish promoted boxing cards in New Jersey from 2003-2009 (under the name The Darwish Brothers, Knockout Promotions) and also managed some high-profile boxers including 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and WBA Junior Middleweight Champion David Reid and six-time super middleweight challenger Omar Sheika. He transitioned to full-time MMA and opened Extreme Fight Club in September 2009.

With such a wealth of knowledge and experience in the combat sports, Darwish is well known as one of the elite trainers in the New Jersey area, a hotbed for MMA.

With so many talented young fighters under his guidance at EFC Gym, Darwish says it was a natural progression to begin promoting events, so that he could test his fighters' skills inside the cage. Under the name Extreme Fighting Championship, Darwish promoted two sold-out shows in 2011 and two more, so far, in 2012.

The EFC organization has quickly established itself as the ultimate proving ground for young fighters whose drive to become the best meant they needed to face the best and EFC events have become the premier showcases for MMA in the Garden State.

Darwish also runs anti-bullying seminars at his gym and at schools in North Jersey.

For more information on Hani Darwish or the EFC organization, log onto www.EFCMMA.com.

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