CALGARY, Alberta — Whitefish mixed martial artist Hamilton Ash was on his way to a first round submission when the lights went out in his bout on Friday at Hard Knocks 54, a fight card for one of the top MMA promotions in North America.
That’s not a metaphor.
The lights literally went out twice during the fight at WinSport Arena, leading to a no contest in Ash’s 155-pound fight against undefeated Canadian Alexi Argyriou.
Ash was in control early in the first round, working Argyriou against the cage when the lights went out. After an extended break, the fight was restarted with each fighter on their feet.
“I was working a takedown when the lights went out,” Ash said. “That was about a minute into the fight.”
Ash caught Argyriou with a right hand quickly after the fight began again, rocking the young fighter, who then attempted to take Ash to the mat. Ash sprawled and worked Argyriou into a guillotine choke, only for the lights to go out a second time.
“The choke wasn’t completely sunk yet, but it was tight. I was about to put the finishing touch on it. Then the lights went out again,” Ash said.
Because of the position each fighter was in, with Ash holding Argyriou in a choke, the fight could not be reset as it was before the malfunction. Instead, the fight was called a no contest.
“I’m chalking it up as a win,” Ash said. “It was a win for me personally too.”
With the impressive showing, despite the official result, Ash said he was told he’d be given a title chance at 145 pounds in his next fight on the card. Ash fought above weight at 155 to get a chance at the up-and-coming Aryriou.
The 145-pound belt was won later in the night by Calgary’s Jesse Arnett, who also holds the 135-pound belt.
“Hopefully he’ll take the fight,” Ash said of Arnett, who has hinted at his jump up in weight class being a temporary move.
“If he doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll fight anybody that they’ve got for me at 145 for the strap. If he wants to vacate it, that’s on him.
“I let them know I’m willing to fight at any weight class they want me to.”
That next event, Hard Knocks 55, is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend in Calgary. Ash, who broke his hand during the fight, will need some time to recover, but said he will try to work his way onto the next card.
“I’m going to try to heal this hand up quick,” Ash said.
“The promotion is great. They took really good care of me over there, and all of the fighters. I was really happy with everything. It was a really good experience.”