The biggest fight of his life
Former resident fights on Bellator show Friday
August 5, 2020
Right now, he isn't feeling nervous.
"Magic" Mike Hamel's daily routine consists of training at the gym three times a day, with breaks between sessions consisting of time spent with his wife and his two dogs.
"I'm chill," the mixed martial artist said.
Come Friday, Hamel admits it will be different story as soon as his entrance music starts.
Hamel, a former Green River resident, will be fighting at Bellator 243 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Bellator is the second largest mixed martial arts promotion in the United States. It will be Hamel's first time competing for the promotion.
His opponent will be Adam "The Kid" Borics, who comes into Friday's fight with a 14-1 record. Hamel's record stands at 7-3, with him winning his previous fight against Fabio Serrao, a 39-year-old Brazilian fighter who came into their match with a 10-6 record.
Borics is a vastly different challenge than Serrao. The Hungarian is much closer to Hamel's age, nearly being a year younger than Hamel. Borics is also coming off of his first professional loss, a submission at Bellator 238 against Darrion Caldwell, and will want a win to keep his momentum going. However, if Hamel can pull off the upset victory, his fighting career will get a massive push.
"If I beat this guy, I'm right in there," he said.
The opportunity came to Hamel when Borics' original opponent was pulled from the fight for undisclosed reasons. Hamel was helping Benson Henderson prepare for his main event bout with Michael Chandler when a manager called Hamel's coach. Hamel was in shape to fight and eagerly accepted the opportunity.
Hamel said he and his coach believe he can do more as a fighter, saying he's always competed at a high level.
The champion wrestler
While Hamel now calls Arizona his home, he spent his early years in Green River. He quickly fell in love with wrestling through the Green River Grapplers program and later became a two-time 5A high school state champion in Arizona in the 130 and 140 weight divisions. He returned to Wyoming and wrestled for the Cowboys before transferring to Grand Canyon University, becoming a Division II All American.
His time at GCU is where he earned his "Magic Mike" moniker. At first glance, people may assume it derives from the movie of the same mane, but Hamel said his teammates started calling him Magic Mike because he would win his matches with a large variety of maneuvers while other wrestlers would focus on their favored techniques.
Wrestling is in Hamel's blood as well. His father is Mike Hamel, a Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame inductee who is the all-time leader in pins for the Cowboys wrestling team. His cousin Art Castillo is head coach for the Western Wyoming Community College wrestling team.
Outside of fighting, he coaches a youth wrestling program to give back to the sport he loves, introducing it to a new generation of athletes. He said the experience is a new challenge and believes it will help him when he has children of his own.
"I'm always going to be a wrestler," Hamel said.
His experience as a wrestler is what led to Hamel's introduction to the MMA world. Hamel came to the sport through GCU, where a recommendation from a coach led to him joining the MMA Lab in Phoenix. Hamel said the ability to train and fight is a dream come true for him.
"This is where I belong," he said.
He's also happy to be part of the MMA legacy Green River continues to build on, sharing a hometown with MMA fighters Nick Mamalis and Justin Salas. Hamel said he makes a journey to Green River at least once a year to visit with family.
Watching the bout
Hamel's bout is the last match on the show's undercard, which will start at 4:45 p.m. MST. Hamel said the fight should be freely available to MMA fans through the Paramont app and YouTube. He said people can also watch through the DAZN app.