Fifteen years ago, Trench Tech Promotions, Inc. started a mission of showcasing warriors on the octagon cage and co-founder and owner Cuki Alvarez can’t help but look back how MMA blossomed to become one of the anticipated sports events in the Marianas.
Trench Tech had its first MMA competition in November 2005, paving the way for 23 Rites of Passage (amateur) events and 21 Trench Warz (pro) contests. The inaugural tournament dubbed “Trench Warz 1: Fight Night,” undoubtedly, led Alvarez’s Top 5 hit list in the last 15 years.
“It was this ‘inaugural’ event that catapulted Trench Tech to the MMA powerhouse in the Marianas that it is today. We have produced lots of local talents now competing in some of the top stages regionally and in the world, like Frank “The Crank” Camacho in UFC. If it weren’t for TW1, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Alvarez said.
The following year and after holdings three successful events it a cramped warehouse along Beach Road, Trench Tech had its debut in a “big stage” with the hosting of “Trench Warz 4: Enter The Octagon” at the Saipan World Resort.
Alvarez said they were able to raise enough money from the three previous events to build the full-blown octagon, replacing the “wrectagon” (rectangular cage) they utilized in Trench Warz 1, 2 (Caged In) and 3 (Commotion)
“We were very excited to debut the octagon at the World Resort at the Taga Hall and showcase MMA at a whole other level. Not to mention, the fighters were super excited to fight in an actual 8-sided cage,” Alvarez said.
Camacho fought in Trench Warz 4 and won via TKO (punches) against Troy Munoz in the first round, while Slade “The Rage” Adelbai prevailed in his main event bout against Antonio Nekaifes, also via TKO in the third round.
After hosting five pro events through Trench Warz, Trench Tech saw the need to tap newcomers in the sport and give them opportunity to showcase their skills thus the birth of Rites of Passage.
“We had ROP 1: Rise of the Warriors. This was our very first amateur only MMA event. We created this event to give the young, up-and-coming fighters a chance to fight and ‘earn their RITES’ to make it into the bigger show or pro evel. In ROP, fighters are matched with opponents of the same level basically, exclusively for inexperienced, first, second and even third time guys who may want to redeem their performance and impress the scouts. ROP went on to become one of our most popular events and nowadays, we add a few pro fights in there to entice the crowd and inspire the younger fighter to excel,” Alvarez said.
With Trench Tech and its events developing more MMA fighters on island, pitting them against Guam’s own came next and brought out the best from the CNMI warriors.
“Trench Warz 10: Collision was the first event where we strictly had Guam vs Saipan. It was a sold out event! The fans loved this show and were cheering for all our local talent to win. I believe out of 14 matches, we won five. Guam edged us out, but it showed the evolution of MMA in the CNMI in just a couple short years and showed that with more training, Saipan fighters can compete competitively at the highest level in the Marianas region,” Alvarez said.
Kelvin “The Big Hit” Fitial recorded one of those five victories, beating Manny “The Enforcer” Chong via KO (punches) at the 4:47 mark of the opening round.
After challenging Guam fighters, the islands’ bets turned its focus on the highly-competitive Korean Top Team standouts, as Trench Tech hosted ROP 8: Fearless in 2010.
“It was the first time we had an international card with three Korean fighters going up against our Trench Tech guys,” Alvarez said. “It was a huge step up in competition for us, but we were totally up for the challenge.”
The three featured bouts had the late Fasi “Quikdraw” Jesse battling “Dr.” Kang Beom Chang, Adelbai meeting Hyun Kyu “The Ace” Lim, and Chris “No Luv” Layuug squaring off against Young Nam “The Hippo” Gu
“Both Fasi and Slade lost via TKO but put up valiant fights against their far more experienced opponents. Chris won via unanimous decision. It was a great experience for local fighters and helped us elevate the competition to a much higher standard, which we did,” the Trench Tech founder said.
Meanwhile, Alvarez said MMA’s success in the CNMI in the last 15 years is made possible through the support of the fight fans and other members of the community.
“Trench Tech wants to tell all the fight fans thank you very much for all their support in the past 15 years,” Alvarez said.
“ We look forward to coming back sooner than later. Right now, the biggest fight is against COVID-19 and together as a community we can win!”