In the Bears Den with Chris Stranger
Scanning the program at Ultimate Cage Wars 12 showed that Dwight Sutherland was fighting out of Peguis, Manitoba. Peguis is a troubled reserve with alcoholism and drug use rates above national averages and it is located on the northwest shore of Lake Winnipeg in Canada. In fact, the Canadian government coerced these Ojibwa people into surrendering their productive farm land in the early 1900s and forced them to move to their current swampy, rocky home. What was this young lightweight going to be like?
When Dwight Sutherland came out, the crowd erupted. It seemed as though hundreds of the Peguis Nation followed Dwight to Winnipeg. They continued their shouts of encouragement as a well-prepared Dwight proceeded to quickly defeat his opponent by triangle choke. The person from Peguis yelling the loudest that night was in Dwight’s corner. His name was Chris Stranger.
Bears Den MMA
Chris Stranger is the backbone of MMA in Peguis. He is the founder and trainer of Bears Den MMA located in Peguis. He works in Winnipeg and drives back to his birthplace each weekend to train students, like Dwight. He owns his own cage and even runs amateur fights in Peguis with crowds up to 600 people. The next Bears Den show is November 1.
The Ojibwa people are separated into six clans. Chris is part of the Makwa – the Bear clan. The Makwa are known for their bravery. They were the warriors and war chiefs who are responsible for policing and defending their people. Chris Stranger takes this history to heart. He wears a Black Bear headdress and breastplate to every fight – symbolizing his courage and willingness to stand up to anything, anyone, anywhere.
Chris has fought everywhere. He has fought in a boxing tournament when he 16, he has won Tough Man competitions and he has silvered in the prestigious Grappler’s Quest tournament in Las Vegas. He is undefeated in his professional MMA career (2-0-1), fighting primarily in King of the Cage cards in the U.S. Having trained in MMA with Reggie Mitchell’s Team Fierce in New Mexico, Chris is knowledgeable in boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and muay thai techniques. Unfortunately, between raising a family and work, Chris has had to put his own fight career on hold.
Over the past year, Chris has brought this fighting knowledge and love of his Aboriginal heritage back to his hometown. He is currently training twelve fighters the same skills and techniques that he has learned and is always open to new students. When asked about his Bears Den MMA team, he says he wants people to know that “we are for real”. When asked about opponents, he shrugs and states, “Bears Den fights them big, we fight them small, we fight them all.”
Not only a trainer, Chris is a friend, psychologist, and motivator for his fight team. Following a traditional Aboriginal lifestyle which includes not consuming drugs or alcohol, Chris has participated in dog sledding, trapping, drum making, sweat lodges, and pow-wows. He is a tremendous role model for his people. He teaches his team discipline, to be positive, and to have no doubts when entering the cage. Once again, Chris will be in Dwight Sutherland’s corner on September 12 for UCW’s Tap or Snap card at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, where many of the Peguis Nation are sure to be in attendance.
The Peguis Ojibwa know how to fight. In fact, they recently fought their way to a $126 million land claim settlement. Chris Stranger is a proud Ojibwa. Chris Stranger is a proud fighter.
Next Week Topic: Dwight Sutherland returns to UCW 13
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P.P.S. If any amateur fighters are interested in fighting in a Bears Den MMA show, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.