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Prince Rupert mixed martial artist wins Montreal bantam-weight bout

Robert McConnell’s long journey east ended with success, beating his competitor in the third round
Prince Rupert resident Robert McConnell, brought his A-game to Montreal, beating out Oshawa native Tyrell Campbell in the third round at the Montreal Fight League. (Courtesy of the Montreal Fight League)

Robert McConnell had the backing of an entire town when he won his fight at the Montreal Fight League mixed martial arts competition.

The Prince Rupert resident made the arduous trip from the Northwest all the way to Montreal for his cage fight, beating out competitor Tyrell Campbell in the bantam weight division on Jan. 27.

McConnell defeated Campbell, who trains in Oshawa, Ontario, in a third-round decision.

Without the support and sponsorship from local businesses, McConnell said he and his team would not have been able to make the expensive trip out to Montreal. Sunset Lounge and Wheelhouse Brewing ran a fundraiser for the 29-year-old’s journey.

“It was a pretty long journey, we were looking for a fight since August and nothing was available out in B.C… nothing would work out, so we decided to reach out East and they ended up making an offer right away,” he said.

“I’m very blessed, very grateful for my community that I live in. Yeah, I’m just very happy that I was able to make them all proud and take home the win.”

McConnell started boxing at 12 years old before joining the Charles Hays High School wrestling team. Once he left high school, McConnell began training as an MMA fighter.

Growing up as the youngest in his family, McConnell said he has always had a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove. He frequently got into fights at home and at school, where he said he stuck up for peers who were bullied.

“Me and my cousins, we would always pick on each other all day, but I was normally the punching bag, so I kind of grew up learning to fight off my family members,” McConnell said.

All throughout high school I would find myself in a lot of fights, whenever someone would get bullied and I knew that it wasn’t a fair situation… I would always step in and a lot of the time it would end up in a physical altercation.”

A crab fisher by day, McConnell said the support he received from his crabbing boat, the Elora Jane, was integral to getting him out to Montreal and winning his fight. Getting some extra days off helped as well.

McConnell dedicated his win to two friends, Jimmy and Henry Troung and his uncle Ken Shaw, who have passed away.

The 29-year-old is looking to continue his fighting trajectory by going back east for a fight this summer, either back in Montreal or Toronto.

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About the Author: Seth Forward, Local Journalism Initiative

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