Jimy “The Kid ” Hettes vs. Jacob Kirwan for the MMA Melee – MASS Featherweight Title

A professional contract will be up for grabs as the scouts will be in the stands. Become the next MASS Super Star  If your interested on fighting on this card please contact MASS Match Maker Elder Ramos

A Fighter and A Gentlemen – Locking eyes with local mixed martial arts(MMA) fighter and Wilkes University alumnus Rex “T-Rex” Harris could go one of two ways depending on the situation. If it’s inside a ring, minutes before a professional bout, it’s probably enough to make a person run away screaming like a little girl. “What we had to do was get him a baggy shirt, literally, and I stayed in the truck, and Mike (Malast) took him in to weigh in,” said Sean Diggs, Harris’ striking coach and owner of World Class Boxing in Kingston, describing one occasion where it was necessary to veil Harris’ physical presence thanks to the bowing out of a previous challenger.


“It’s funny because his opponent didn’t get the opportunity to see him until he actually came out to the cage, and you see the guy jumping around, he’s all hyped up.”


That didn’t last long. “He looks across the cage and sees Rex in there, and he just freezes … But it’s too late, he’s in the cage now, there’s nothing you can do about that,” Diggs continued, laughing. But Harris himself is too modest to admit that his size or apparent strength as a middleweight (185 pounds) would be intimidating to other fighters. “I try to put faith in guys,” Harris, a former wrestler, said.


“You’d like to think that guys are in this game for the right reasons, guys are in this game to compete, and they want to fight the best.” Harris (2-1-0) will be up against Indiana’s Moses McCraney (2-2-0) for the main event at Martial Arts Super Sport 2 (MASS 2) “A Night For the Troops” Saturday, March 24 at the Kingston Armory. The Weekender had the chance to sit down with the fighter, Diggs and Malast, president of MASS, at Diggs’ gym.


Through this interview, the other side of T-Rex came out, the side with which eye contact wouldn’t necessarily inspire great fear. Outside the ring, Harris is polite, professional, exudes a sense of calm. And his approach to his craft is straightforward, even when it’s taken into account that he’s still got a day job to hold down.


“I work at Mid-Atlantic Youth Services with adjudicated juvenile delinquents,” Harris said. “So that’s where a lot of my time throughout the course of the week goes, which is why it makes it so difficult to get my personal training in. But you’ve got to make it happen.”



Diggs and Harris have a good working relationship, and there are others in Harris’ corner, including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Jimy “The Kid” Hettes, who was signed to the big league after his performance at last year’s MASS event at Mohegan Sun Arena — the same event where Harris had his first professional MMA match. Diggs explained that in addition to training at World Class Boxing, Harris also trains with Hettes at Northeastern Ju-Jitsu in Swoyersville, and they all travel to East Stroudsburg to work out with Don Cioffi at Chamber MMA.


“We keep it small, we work with mostly each other … Because most of the talent in this area, to be perfectly honest with you, trains in one of those three camps,”


Diggs said. “We just pretty much got together and formed an alliance, to bring the best guys together and showcase their skills and develop … and working them to push them to the next level, which is the goal, whether it’s Bellator (Fighting Championships) or UFC.” And that’s exactly the goal for Harris, who is being groomed and readied for a chance to follow the same path as Hettes.


“I’m putting a lot of my energies into Rex right now because he’s the next in line,” Diggs said. “In the camp that I have right now, you have some aspiring amateurs, but no one on the level at this point in time that is looking to go to the UFC the way he is. And he’s right on the verge, he’s maybe two, three fights away. And that’s from a fight-experience point, not ability point.”


Malast agreed, pointing to Diggs as a central factor in the success of both Harris and Hettes. “He’s breeding champions, and thankfully I have a place to showcase them, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” Malast said. “Jimy’s in the UFC now, I see Rex being there very soon.”


The respect is mutual on Diggs’ part. “Many athletes don’t get an opportunity to be a part of something big,” he said. “Where you have, like the last fight, I guess the guy was there from the UFC watching Jimy. You don’t see guys like that floating around at just normal, regular shows. So that says something about Mike and Mike’s potential, that they have enough respect to come down and actually sit and watch to see what kind of talent is coming out of these leagues.” READ MORE!


Jay Haas vs. Nick Bleser – MASS Inauguration – KO of the Night

MMA Melee Presents: Rich Patishnock vs. Diego Peclat

Steve Mytych vs. Amel Beharovic

MMA Melee Sponsored MASS Featherweight Champion – Jimy “The Kid” Hettes Highlight Video

MMA Melee Presents: Hip Hop / Fight Merger at MASS

Jimy “The Kid” Hettes was signed to the UFC the same night he wins the MASS Featherweight Title.  Martial Arts Super Sport President Mike Malast gets Hettes a multi-fight deal to the UFC.  Here is the champs acceptance speech.

B. DeLaney Performs “Two Minutes of My Life” at MASS INAUGURATION

Jay Haas Highlights

B.DeLaney & Shawn Johnson SoundCheck at Mohegan Sun Arena

On July 16th 2011 this historical event took place as the first ever mixed martial arts event was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

This was Martial Arts Super Sport (MASS) inaugural event and it featured some of the nations brightest stars and local up & coming talent in the world of MMA.

The Main Event was a Championship Fight between Swoyersville native and Undefeated Featherweight Champion (11-0) Jimy “The Kid” Hettes vs. current Ring of Combat Featherweight Champion, Jacob Kirwan (11-2).  This fight had been long awaited and was the most anticipated matchup on the east coast.   Called for by most MMA experts, this bout determine who was the best 145lbs fighter in the Mid-Atlantic Region.  Hettes defeated Kirwan for the MASS Featherweight Title via triangle Choke in the Second Round.

That night MASS President Mike Malast secured a multi-fight deal for his champion with the UFC.

You can check out all the news and fight card updates as they are announced on MMA Melee who is the official news source of MASS and MMA’s Top Social Network.



Results Verified By Commission, Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission

Winner Loser Method Round Time
Jim Hettes Jacob Kirwan Submission 2nd 3:58 Title Fight
James Cianci Ryan Harder TKO/RSC 1st 0:55
Jay Haas Nicholas Bleser TKO/RSC 1st 3:25
Rex Harris Chase Owens Submission 3rd 4:49
Richard Patishnock Diego Peclat Decision 3rd
Michael Zola John Ortiz-Rivera Submission 1st 1:18
William Weber Anthony McGlynn Decision 3rd
Dave Spadell Jr Jeremiah Wells KO 2nd 0:19
Steve Mytych Amel Beharovic Submission 1st 1:20
Date  and    Times
7/16/2011 –  7:00 PM
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza 255 Highland Park Boulevard Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702





On Saturday night, two men will voluntarily lock themselves in a cage at the Mohegan Sun Arena wearing only four-ounce gloves for protection.

They will exchange punches and kicks or grapple in hand-to-hand combat on the mat until one has his hand raised as the victor.

But when Swoyersville native Michael Malast watches the action, he won’t see violence or brutality.

Malast, the promoter of the Martial Arts Super Sport card – the first mixed martial arts event held at the arena – will see beauty.

“It’s not two guys beating on each other,” Malast said. “When you see kickboxing go into wrestling go into judo go into ju-jitsu, it’s a beautiful thing. Each guy is skilled in a different way.”

Malast is not alone in that opinion.

MMA has become a billion-dollar business in America, with thousands of fans filling arenas and buying pay-per-view broadcasts each month.

Ever since MMA was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2009, fights have been held at a variety of locations locally.

Saturday night, by moving into the area’s largest sporting venue, it hits the big time.

“When it first got legalized in Pennsylvania, you would see shows in barns and bars,” said featherweight fighter Jim Hettes, a Swoyersville native. “I honestly didn’t think they’re would be a great venue around here for probably about 10 years. The fact that it’s making big strides really shocked me at first. Now I’m just happy I can go with it and be a big part of it.”

And here’s a newsflash from the general manager of the Mohegan Sun Arena, Rebecca Bonnevier.

It won’t be the last time MMA visits the arena.

Malast said he’d like to run four cards a year at the building, and Bonnevier said the arena has been in talks to host an Ultimate Fighting Championships-affiliated event as well.

“I think this is the first of many,” Bonnevier said. “I expect the momentum to keep building and each time it comes back, it’ll grow larger and larger.”

Will the crowd for Saturday’s inaugural event be large?

That remains to be seen, of course, but Malast reports he’s already received plenty of support for the venture in other ways.

Fox Sports Net, for example, has agreed to broadcast the show nationally four times in the next month. Malast also has the backing of several high-profile local sponsors – from car dealers to restaurants to radio stations.

“These are good successful businesses that support it and understand the martial arts side of it,” he said. “You’re not going to see blood splatters on any of our marketing. It’s about refining the art of MMA and giving these guys a place to do that.”

Malast, 27, was working for his mother’s tax preparation business about two years ago when he began the journey that led to him becoming one of the youngest fight promoters in the country.

First, he created, a social networking website for devotees of the sport. It took off, getting more than 2.5 million page views, Malast said.

From there he branched out into sponsoring fighters, then managing fighters, then forming MASS, the MMA league that is running Saturday’s show.

Malast is taking a financial risk by putting on a show at such a large venue, of course, but that’s the only way to create a big-fight atmosphere for the participants, he said.

“For a lot of these fighters, fight day is as important as their wedding day,” he said. “They put so much time and work into it and when they remember it when they’re 80 years old, we don’t want them to remember it being on some basketball court somewhere.”

And Malast has been to plenty of shows like that, in bingo halls and high school gyms.

“They don’t even have the right song for guys to come out to, let alone the right sound system. They cut corners on lights,” Malast said. “The shows weren’t doing anything to further guys’ careers. We want to make sure these guys are showcased the right way.”

There are a couple of fighters on Saturday’s card – Kris McCray and Joseph Henle – who have already been showcased on one of the sport’s brightest stages. Both fought on the UFC’s popular reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, on Spike TV.

But Malast said he had previous business relationships with both fighters and that they aren’t being brought in as hired guns to try to sell a few tickets.

Malast said he’s more interested in providing a showcase for up-and-coming local fighters than trying to bring in fighters with wider name recognition.

For example, Hettes is fighting in the main event. Middleweight Rex Harris of Wilkes-Barre and featherweight James Cianci of Clarks Summit are also undefeated and are on the card.

Malast said they’re the type of fighters who could easily end up fighting at the sport’s highest level, the UFC, in the near future.

“It gives these guys a home turf,” he said, “where they can really work on their craft.”

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