Ryan Ciotoli has been to several Mixed Martial Arts events over the years as a trainer.
On Saturday, he begins a new adventure as a promoter when Gladius Fight Promotions presents Gladius Fights I at the Cattaraugus Sports Complex on Route 438 in Irving.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and fights begin at 7 p.m. General admission is $35, seated premium seats are $50 and ringside seats are $100.
Ciotoli picked Irving as a destination for the event because of the reputation of the Seneca Athletic Commission and the venue.
"This is the only part of the state that has a respectable commission," Ciotoli said. "We have been to shows in this area before. We felt comfortable going with them. We have been to a lot of amateur MMA events that don't have a commission and it has been disorganized. We wanted to add commission to prove we were going to do a good show. We wanted a nice arena for the event. It's a beautiful new building. It's made for MMA. It's a very nice facility. I have been to a lot of big shows. We felt comfortable this would be a nice venue for our brand."
While Ciotoli now lives in Ithaca, he does have ties to the local community as he wrestled for Cassadaga native Marty Nichols at Ithaca College.
"I wrestled for Marty and coached with him for six years," Ciotoli said. "I got more into MMA. We are best friends. We pretty much hang out every weekend with our families."
Despite the lack of fighters from the Southern tier, this card features 10 pro bouts and one amateur fight, including some of the most experienced competitors New York state has to offer when it comes to talent.
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The main event features Bombsquad's Don Carlo-Clauss against Eddie Fyvie. Carlo Clauss enters Saturday night with a 9-7 professional record and has competed on one of the biggest stages as he competed on the undercard of a Strikeforce event in which heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko was the main event. He has also competed for Bellator. Fyvie enters the bout with a 9-5 record and has competed against some big names including UFC veteran Jim Miller.
"They are two solid veterans who have fought big names," Ciotoli said. "You couldn't have picked a better main event."
Another bout of interest will be Desmond Green against Matthew DiMarcantonio. Green was a standout wrestler at the University at Buffalo where he was a three-time National qualifier and in his junior year, was ranked in the top 3 in the nation for takedowns. In his MMA career, he went 3-0 as an amateur and is now 4-0 as a pro. All seven of his fights have come within the last nine months. As an amateur, Green recorded two wins in a six-day span, including a second round TKO victory and a unanimous decision win. Saturday's match will be his second match in two weeks.
"Everyone is looking at him as the next up and coming star," Ciotoli said.
DiMarcantonio is 3-2 as a pro and riding a two-fight win streak.
"I think we got the best out of New York," Ciotoli said. "That was our goal going into it. We have a lot of veterans who have had to travel to compete. We wanted to bring them in and let them compete in New York. There isn't a fight I'm not excited about."
Weigh ins will be held tonight at Buffalo Wild Wings in Hamburg at 7 p.m.