FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (April 21, 2016) – Bryce Bamford (1-0) and Nick Gulliver (2-0) share a bond that was built by spilling blood and sweat together in Brazilian Jit Jitsu gyms across Maine and New England. When they enter the NEF cage together on Saturday night in Lewiston at “NEF 22: ALL ROADS LEAD HERE,” it will be the culmination of a combat sports friendship that goes back almost a decade.
“Let’s just call him ‘The Hulk,’ since he is a machine on the ground and strong as an ox,” Gulliver, a police officer by trade, joked when asked about his gym partner and confidant, Bamford. “’The Hulk’ and I have been training together for a long time… He is a one of a kind training partner. If I look at him and say that I need help with something, he will help me in any way that he can. He has everything you want in a training partner and a friend. He is a great guy and I’m so happy I can train with someone like Bryce.”
Bamford and Gulliver first met several years ago at Fitness Styles, originally located in Livermore Falls, Maine. “It was more just ‘go and punch each other’ and it was a little wild,” Gulliver recalled. Soon after, Bamford moved his training over to The Foundry in Farmington, Maine where he began focusing on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) in earnest. Before long, Bamford recruited Gulliver to join him at The Foundry where the two have remained loyal training partners. “Best thing I could have done,’ Gulliver stated. “I’ve been training with Bryce ever since.”
Last year, Gulliver, who currently holds the rank of purple belt in BJJ, began cross-training at John Raio’s First Class MMA in Topsham and returned the favor to Bamford by pulling him over to Raio’s gym where the two began supplementing their BJJ studies with rigorous mixed martial arts (MMA) training. Immediately finding that the sport was a fit for both of them, Gulliver was the first to test his MMA skills in the NEF cage. He made his debut last June at “NEF 18: MADE IN AMERICA” and finished Ora Spratt (0-2) via submission in the first round.
“One of the most memorable moments that I have of Bryce was after my first MMA fight,” Gulliver recalled. “Bryce came down to speak with me and he congratulated me on my first win. I looked at him and thanked him for all the help that he has given me over the past few years. Then I said to him: ‘Now it’s your turn.’ He looked at me and shook his head. I could tell he was hooked at that moment. But he said, ‘My mom came and watched you and loved it, but I don’t think she can handle watching me fight.’ I laughed because I knew that it wouldn’t be long before he would be in the cage fighting next to me.”
Gulliver was right.
Bamford, 40, a dedicated father and family man, runs a slasher at Palletone in Livermore Falls during his day job. The soft spoken, yet charismatic heavyweight currently holds the rank of Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. As complimentary as Gulliver is of him, Bamford equally values Gulliver’s work ethic and the deep bond that the two share. “When Nick sets a goal, he doesn’t stop until he gets there,” Bamford stated. “He is relentless.”
After witnessing Gulliver’s stellar debut in the NEF hexagon, Bamford felt the itch to follow his friend’s lead and challenge himself in the ultimate proving ground. “I blame Nick for the fact that I am stepping into the cage and not sitting up in the stands drinking cold beer with everyone else,” laughed Bamford.
Bamford made his NEF debut in November 2015 at “NEF XX: A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE.” He needed only 19 seconds to stop his opponent that night.
“Bryce is 40 years old, but that number means nothing—just ask anyone who has grabbed ahold of him,” Gulliver stated. “If he would have got involved in this sport 20 years ago, no one would have touched him if he was training the way he trains today. He’s the first guy in the gym and the last guy out. That is why his age means nothing. He has heart and a lot of it. I respect a guy with the outlook on life like Bryce Bamford has. He can teach us all something.”
This weekend, Bamford and Gulliver are set to take to the cage again. Bamford is scheduled to face a man ten years younger than him in Joe Krech (0-1) and Gulliver is set to take on his biggest challenge to date when he faces former multiple-time state champion wrestler Dave Smith (2-1) from Beserkers MMA in Rumford, Maine.
“’All Roads Lead Here’ is a title so fitting for a story like the one between Bryce and I,” Gulliver stated. “Every day we have been training—every time we make each other bleed or sweat or tired—it all leads up to April 23rd. This is why we push each other—for opportunities like this.”
Leading into this weekend’s blockbuster event, there are strong rumors that this could be Bamford’s last MMA fight. At 40-years old and with a loving wife and child at home, there are other interests that the camping and motorcyclist enthusiast is passionate to pursue. If NEF 22 is in fact the last time that the two storied training partners take to the cage together, they intend to capitalize on the opportunity to solidify their martial arts history with a pair of wins on Saturday.
“In 20 years from now, I can see Bryce and I talking about this fight, drinking a beer,” Gulliver stated in closing. “We won’t talk about how much work we put into the fight, or how many hours we trained, or how many times we kicked each other’s asses—but we will talk about the fun time we had in that moment. Some things in life, you don’t forget. Times like this upcoming weekend are one of those moments. I’m glad I can share that with Bryce.”
New England Fights’ next event, “NEF 22: ALL ROADS LEAD HERE,” takes place this Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine. Tickets for “NEF 22” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisée box office at 207.783.2009 x 525. For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com. In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”
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 Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.