FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Orono, Maine (September 2, 2019)

The line between spectator and participant has proven razor-thin for countless fans in New England Fights’ nearly eight-year history.

Perhaps they bought a ticket to watch a friend fight, or they scored backstage access as a corner second for a combatant from their neighborhood.

For whatever reason, the thunderous music, the spotlights, and the adrenaline in locales from Bangor to Lewiston to Biddeford to Cape Cod has been too tough for some guys and gals to get out of their systems. What began as an innocent trip cage-side or into the bleachers becomes a new competitive passion, or even a previously uncharted career path.

In that respect, Jason Landry’s journey to a 2-0 record in the NEF amateur ranks isn’t unique. The chain of events that led him to two knockout wins, and now a welterweight bout with Mike Bezanson on Saturday, Sept. 7 at “NEF 40: School of Hard Knocks,” certainly is, however.

Landry didn’t have a dog in the fight, but he adopted one while watching the main event of a card three, maybe four years ago. It got him closer to the action than he could have imagined.

“We were having a boys’ night out kind of thing, no girls,” Landry recalled. “My wife (Emily) kept talking about it, saying, ‘I don’t feel good about this.’ I told her not to worry, we’re just going to watch some fights and have a little fun.”

After taking in a full night of NEF action, Landry returned home to Solon. He found more unqualified support from his wife when he described his next plan.

Fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) since its infancy, Jason and his brothers, Joshua and Charlie, began training together in the basement of his home.

Their formal training? The rough-and-tumble fighting culture from which brothers often grow, and two decades as adults watching one of their favorite sports together.

Such independent fighters have achieved mixed results in NEF, but Landry, not even two years shy of turning 40, has set about changing that perception in short order.

He battered Justin Boraczek before stopping him with a rear naked choke at 2:19 of the opening round in April, then destroyed Dan Seigars with a vicious left hook that halted their June encounter in a near-record seven seconds.

Next up on his third consecutive NEF slate is Bezanson, who has been out of the cage for more than three full years since a pair of similar knockout wins.

“I’m just different. Most of the guys in this sport, it’s the younger generation that’s doing this,” Landry said. “I’m 38. I have a family of five, not including myself. I know most of these guys look at it as a sport, but I’ve always seen fighting as all about survival. I’m not here to play games. They’re locking me in a cage with another guy, it’s me and him, and I’m there to take care of business and do the most damage I can in the shortest amount of time.”

Time is of the essence for Landry, who, in addition to his family commitments, owns and operates a thriving construction business.

His training day begins while most prospective competitors are sleeping.

“It’s not very single day, but as much as possible. If (Josh) can’t make it one day, then I just do all I can on my own,” Landry said. “We go through our workout and then get ready and go off to work for eight or more hours a day. We try to do it before work, so usually we get started around quarter to five, five o’clock in the morning and wrap it up around 6:30 or 7.”

Greeting the sunrise with a scrap against one of his siblings isn’t anything new, either.

“I’ve been fighting my whole life. I grew up in a world where nothing was given to you, and then if you had something you wanted to keep, you had to fight for it,” Landry said. “We always had that brotherly love growing up, but it was also competition. We’d pound on each other, and my older brother had probably 100 pounds on me. I’m not afraid of a battle. Sometimes he’d walk in wearing one of my shirts and would say, ‘This is mine.’ I’d say, ‘Nah, it’s mine,’ but then I’d have to find a way to get it back.”

As they grew older, the men gravitated toward the growing MMA phenomenon.

They analyzed it until they considered themselves students of the game, but that was as far as it went until Landry experienced his epiphany on that guys’ night out at the NEF fights.

“My wife has been my rock through all of this. I have four kids now (ages 14, 11, 7 and 1), and it was just never really the right time,” Landry said. “But now it’s at that point where if I didn’t try, I didn’t want to look back and wonder what if, you know? I don’t want to have any regrets.”

Landry says this fight card’s identity is apropos.

“College wasn’t in the cards for me. I couldn’t afford it,” Landry said. “That’s why I like the theme, ‘School of Hard Knocks,’ because that’s the way I live my life. I feel like I’m one of the baddest (dudes) around, and I want to get in there and take this as far as I can.”

And yes, even at this busy stage of Landry’s well-established life, that includes the same dreams of fellow newcomers half his age.

“It’s only going to get better from here. If you study something long enough, eventually you ought to be able to put it into practice,” Landry said. “We’ve all been watching UFC for 20 years now. It’s crazy how fast time goes by. After I win this fight, I plan to tell Matt (Peterson, NEF co-owner and matchmaker) that I want a shot at the belt, then just run wreck the division and turn pro.”

New England Fights’ next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 40: SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS,” will take place this Saturday, September 7, 2019 at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine as the promotion debuts in Orono, Maine.  Doors will open at 6 pm and first fight will take to the cage at 7 pm.  Tickets are on sale now at www.collinscenterforthearts.com.

About New England Fights

New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.