Fight for a Cause

Mixed Martial Arts event returning to Final Approach
by Jeff Pederson of The Review staff

MIXED MARTIAL ARTS action will return to Final Approach Restaurant in Sheboygan Falls on Saturday, Feb. 23, with the Sharkbite Fighting Championships Fight for a Cause event. — Review file photo MIXED MARTIAL ARTS action will return to Final Approach Restaurant in Sheboygan Falls on Saturday, Feb. 23, with the Sharkbite Fighting Championships Fight for a Cause event. — Review file photo SHEBOYGAN FALLS — On the heels of last year’s successful Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, another Fight for a Cause program to benefit charity is set to be held at Final Approach Restaurant in Sheboygan Falls.

The Sharkbite Fighting Championships Fight for a Cause MMA event will take place Saturday, Feb. 23, with matches starting at 6 p.m.

Local self safety class instructor and Fight for a Cause founder Keith Kesick of Plymouth is set to coorganize the event along with Bill “The Shark” Finn of Edgerton.

“I have formed a partnership with Bill to put on this MMA event and we are already working on scheduling more,” Kesick said. “Bill has been putting on events like this since 2006 and he shares my belief that we can draw on the rising popularity of MMA to bring some positive things to the community. I am very excited about the opportunity to put on another Fight for a Cause locally.”

This year’s event will serve to benefit Vets Journey Home, a support organization for veterans of military service in need of support.

A portion of the money raised through raffles, sponsorships, concessions, donations and ticket sales will go to support Vets Journey Home.

Formed in 1989, Vets Journey Home provides veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and other emotional issues related to combat and other types of military service with a place to discuss their feelings and relieve their pain.

The program is staffed by fellow veterans who have graduated from the program, as well as compassionate civilians who are willing to listen to veterans’ stories and to help them deal with emotional turmoil.

Vets Journey Home includes classes for up to 10 participants with a graduation ceremony at the completion of the program.

“Vets Journey Home is an outstanding national support group for military veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress,” Kesick said. “The program conducts various group therapy sessions to help veterans work through the emotion pain of combat and military service.

“It is very worthy of our support,” he said. “We owe thanks to all of our military veterans for what they have done to insure our freedoms.”

In recent years, MMA has exploded as one of the most popular sports in the world.

On the national level, MMA competitions have become a phenomenon with a television package for the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) on FOX broadcasting the sport to homes across the country.

“MMA has been the fastest-growing sport in the country for the past eight years,” Kesick said. “It draws big crowds for matches and it can be seen all over television. It is an exciting sport that just keeps getting bigger.

“My goal is to get people in Sheboygan County interested in MMA and also do some good for some of our local charities that are in need of support,” he said.

MMA is a full-contact combat sport that allows competitors to use striking and grappling techniques while standing or on the ground.

Common fighting techniques incorporate the martial arts and combat disciplines of boxing, wrestling, jujitsu, kickboxing, karate and judo.

Contests are comprised of three rounds with a referee and judges monitoring each match. Victories are earned through technical knockout, knockout or a tap out submission.

Matches are contested in a six-sided hexagon cage with a 3-inch padded floor and vinyl-coated chain link fence.

The Sharkbite Fighting Championships will include 12 bouts featuring a field of local and regional competitors.

Local fighters expected to be on hand include “Captain” Morgan Sickinger of Manitowoc, Jimmy Zidek of Sheboygan Falls and Rob Keller of Sheboygan.

The matches will take place in an airplane hangar adjacent to Final Approach, which also serves as a banquet hall.

“Last year we had 430 people attend and this year we are hoping for more,” Kesick said. “Our goal is to beat that number this year.”

Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with the first fight starting at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $35 for general admission, $55 for a table in the second row and $75 for a VIP table.

Kesick said the connection with various local charities provides a major driving force in organizing events that can benefit the community.

He has taught self-defense to local women’s and law enforcement groups for the past four years and remains dedicated to assisting women, children and animals in need.

“I believe that some things are worth fighting for and for me that starts with helping our youth to make positive decisions regarding bullying and drug use,” Kesick said. “I’ve taught a number of special classes for kids to learn anti bullying options. I think it is important to get kids more active in positive endeavors and become productive members of their communities.

“I’ve also taught special classes for women called ‘Cure Unwanted Contact,” which includes non-violent self defense options for people of all ages and abilities,” he said. “I have also worked with local animal shelters to help raise funds that will contribute to the health needs of animals, cover adoption fees and introduce the healing powers of animals to people in need.”

Kesick hopes children will attend the

MMA event early to meet the fighters.

“I think MMA fighters can be good role models for kids,” he said. “If these guys present a good image and talk with the kids about making the right choices, I think it will go a along way for the kids who look up to them. That’s why I would like to see the kids and fighters come out early to take photos or just hang out and interact a bit before the fights start.”

Supporters for this year’s event include: Route 43 Harley Davidson, Lakeside Pepsi, 106.5 The Buzz, Anytime Fitness in Plymouth, Addicted Industries in Sheboygan Falls and Sheboygan Chevrolet.

Tetsu Shin Karate Kan Martial Arts School will also assist with the event. In addition, Fight for a Cause has donated $1,500 in VIP tickets to local military personnel.

Advance tickets are available at Route 43 Harley Davidson (3736 South Taylor Drive in Sheboygan) and Anytime Fitness in Plymouth (540 Walton Drive).

“We are looking for more sponsorship help from local businesses,” Kesick said. “The more sponsor support we get, the more we can support our charities and benefit the entire community.”

To register for a Vets Journey Home class, call 414-531-7575, 920-980-5544 or visit

For information on upcoming events, visit SharkbiteMMA. com or follow on facebook at Sharkbite MMA.

For more information on Sharkbite Fighting Championships and Fight for a Cause, contact Keith Kesick at 254-9163 or

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