Lifelong Alaskan Sam "The Hebrew Hope" Dunham got his start in martial arts at the age of 5, taking karate lessons.
He rediscovered martial arts in college, enrolling in UAA's tae kwon do class, in which he now holds a black belt.
Eventually he sought to better round out his skill set and has been training MMA at Greatland Martial Arts since.
He has won matches at the Alaska Fighting Championship and also at Thursday Night at the Fights. He teaches kids at Tae Kwon Do USA, and makes his living as a substitute teacher for the Anchorage School District.
He can probably beat you up, but luckily he doesn't want to.
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Posted: August 24, 2012 - 6:38 pm
Up-and-coming Juneau promotion AK Beat Down hosted their eighth mixed-rules event August 17th, featuring MMA, boxing, and hybrid bouts. Enjoy the MMA results below, courtesy of promoter Russ Stevens.
Tyson Duckworth def. Craig Reishus
Round 3, Decision (split)
Christian Rotola def. Tyrel Kleinsmith
Round 1, Submission (rear-naked choke)
Chandler Horne def. Michael Ward
Round 2, TKO (strikes)
Posted: August 1, 2012 - 12:48 am
Clear your calendar, fight fanatics! The Alaska Fighting Championship announced the dates for their new season via Facebook today.
In addition to the eight Anchorage events (down one from last year's slate, and down four cards from two years ago) there will be an unknown number of Mat-Su Showdown events in Wasilla. An announcement on those events is expected soon.
Posted: July 17, 2012 - 12:57 am
Busy, busy, busy! Those are the three words to describe the the lay of the pugilistic landscape in Alaska. Grand Prix's and title fights and competing promotions holding events all over the dang place.
Its a good time to be a fight fan in the Last Frontier. With the epic Midnight Sun Mayhem now in the rear view mirror, it's time to take a breath and assess how the top fighters stack up.
However, before diving into these thoroughly comprehensive and utterly authoritative divisional rankings, please take a moment to read my standard disclaimer:
Posted: July 12, 2012 - 8:00 pm
File this one in your fantasy match-ups, folks.
Upon hearing news of Jesse Cruz's drop to flyweight, former AFC interim featherweight champion Darin Pestrikoff expressed a desire for the diminutive Cruz to return to Alaska and wish to challenge him at bantamweight. Pestrikoff is the long-time wrestling coach of one-time Cruz challenger Zack Eastlick, who lost his title-shot via disqualification.
Such a match is unlikely at best. Pestrikoff last competed when he won the belt, in 2008, while Cruz has committed to living, training, and fighting in California.
Posted: July 12, 2012 - 7:51 pm
Jesse 'The Puerto Rican Game Cock' Cruz, the Alaska Fighting Championship's first bantamweight champion, will drop down to flyweight soon. Cruz, who has been training with Dan Henderson's Team Quest for quite some time now, will participate in a four-man tournament in Inglewood, California, in the event Pandemonium VII, on August 18th. The winner of the tourney will be crowned the promotions inaugural 125 lbs champ.
Posted: June 30, 2012 - 8:58 pm
[*On June 24th, 2012, Fairbanks hosted the MMA event Midnight Sun Mayhem. The following is a recounting of some of my experience from the evening and night of previous, June 23rd. Several names, gyms, and businesses have been omitted to protect the anonymity of those involved who did not give their permission to be mentioned in this story. In other words, people interviewed are named, people who were just around are not named.*]
Posted: June 29, 2012 - 2:12 pm
Midnight Sun Mayhem turned in it's second annual event last Sunday. The free, outdoor, hybrid-Pride rules card was steller, with seasoned veterans turning in unforgettable matches all night long. The alternate rules played a much larger roll than last year's event, with several fighters attempting and landing moves such as stomps, soccer kicks, and knees to the head of their grounded opponent. Much, much more is coming, but for right now, enjoy these fight recaps.
Posted: June 23, 2012 - 1:06 am
AK Beatdown 7 went down last Saturday, June 16th, at Centennial Hall in Juneau. The boxing/MMA mixed card featured eight mixed martial arts bouts with a variety of rookies and veterans. Results follow, courtesy of promoter Russ Stevens, as well as some sweet pictures from the fights.
[THE ROUND IN WHICH EACH FIGHT ENDED WAS NOT REPORTED]
Drake Clements def. Paul 'The Eskimo' Lee
Christian Rotola def, Michael Houck
Posted: June 14, 2012 - 11:35 pm
Last summer long-time Fairbanks MMA icon Jeff Nielson brought a dream to life. He resurrected, if only for a night, the spirit of defunct Japanese promotion and beloved relic Pride Fighting Championships. And on June 24th, he's going to do it again.
Posted: June 2, 2012 - 10:17 pm
AK Beat Down hosted it's sixth event on Saturday, May 26, at the Centennial Hall Convention Center in Juneau. Headlining the mixed MMA/boxing/dirty boxing* card were well-traveled Alaskan fighters Eddie Hoch and Henry 'Hi-Def' Dehling.
Below are the results from the evening's MMA bouts.
AK Beat Down's next event is scheduled for June 16, same town, same venue. Thanks to Russ Stevens for the results!
[*"Dirty boxing" is essentially MMA with much quicker stand-ups]
Posted: May 21, 2012 - 3:44 pm
The Alaska Fighting Championship closed out it's 2011-12 season and put it's 100th show in it's rear-view mirror Wednesday, May 16th. Two sterling title defenses capped a night marked by lightning quick bouts and controversial calls by the referee. On the whole it was a satisfying night of violence.
Posted: May 17, 2012 - 1:15 am
The Alaska Fighting Championship closed out the season with a huge, 12 fight card tonight, capping it with two title fights. Controversy was not absent, and quick, brutal match-ups ruled the night. Results and recaps follow.
Don't forget to check back in this weekend for awards, analysis, photos, and the Final Word!
HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT
Brian Ryan def. Rod Pucak
Round 1, KO (knee)
Posted: May 15, 2012 - 4:27 pm
Cordova's Cody McKenzie emerged victorious today on the undercard of UFC on Fuel 3, sinking his trademark "McKenzie-tine" choke on opponent Marcus LeVesseur, earning the submission inside of the first round.
McKenzie, whose fight nickname is 'The AK Kid', gave a shout-out to the 49th state during his post-fight interview. While thanking his training partners, gyms, and family, he exclaimed, "Alaska! Love you guys."
Posted: May 15, 2012 - 1:36 am
AFC 92: Best of the Best 8 is set for Wednesday, May 16th, and it looks to be a doozy. In addition to serving as the AFC's annual anniversary extravaganza, it will also close out the 2011-2012 season and represent the promotion's centennial event (including a few tournaments, and a handful of unnumbered cards in the Mat-Su and the Egan Center).
Posted: May 7, 2012 - 11:37 pm
Cody 'AK Kid' McKenzie, one of the only Alaskans currently fighting in the UFC, will take on Octagon newcomer Marcus Levesseur on Tuesday, May 15th. The main card will be broadcast on the Fox cable station FUEL (channel 307 on GCI).
Posted: May 4, 2012 - 1:37 am
Mike 'The Cannon' Fannon, the #1 heavyweight contender int he AFC, was forced to withdraw from his anticipated showdown with champion Brian Ryan at AFC 92: Best of the Best 8. Fannon reportedly injured his shoulder in training.
Posted: April 22, 2012 - 1:52 am
The AFC brought it's Valley schedule to a close tonight, April 21st, promising to return in the fall. The unheralded card surprised with highly competitive bouts and a few new faces who moved to make themselves known on the Alaska fight scene.
Worth noting, the night featured several very evenly contested fights, the result of some very good matchmaking on the part of the AFC. Special props also go to referee Pino for an night of excellent calls and decisions while in the cage.
Posted: April 19, 2012 - 9:22 pm
You all must be sick of my ramblings by now. Am I too harsh? Not harsh enough? Think you can do better job at making snarky observations and making up different ways to say, "Fighter A punched Fighter B in the face"? Well, now is your chance!
For the first time, you get to be the MMA reporter! If you attend AFC: Mat-Su Showdown 7 at 7:30pm this Saturday, feel free to send me your observations, musings and comments on the fights and fighters. The best messages I receive will be posted on this very blog a few days later, right here at the Anchorage Daily News website.
Posted: April 19, 2012 - 9:03 pm
The Alaska Fighting Championship is set for their seventh event in the Mat-Su this Saturday, April 21.
The card is awash with fresh faces looking to be the next big thing in Alaskan MMA. Any fan waiting for someone new in the local scene should be pleased. The event will be immediately preceded by the second annual Alaska State Arm-Wrestling Championship.
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