Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River MMA - July 9Submitted: 07/09/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

EAGLE RIVER - Last Saturday, the Northwoods Combat Challenge showcased a dozen Mixed Martial Arts bouts.

Seven bouts were a Border Battle series between competitors from Wisconsin and Michigan. The winning state, would earn a trophy.

"It just went phenomenal," Dave Sixel of Sixel's Fight Club said. "I'm happy to see Wisconsin win the trophy. We'll probably hold two MMA cards in Wisconsin, and two in Michigan."

For some of the competitors, the even was about more than this. One Sugar Camp fighter is raising money for her animal rescue.

"I take animals off the euthanasia list," Stef Scheider of Sugar Camp explains. "We reached the one-year mark at the beginning of May. In that time, we have saved 200 dogs."

Around $1000 was raised for her group - called It Matters to One Animal Rescue. Another athlete decided to take the opportunity to tie the knot once again.

"(We) have been together for so long - she has been through everything with me," Jeff Paradise of Necedah explains.

Jeff and his wife Nadia have been married for six years. She had her suspicions - but it didn't affect the impact of the moment.

"I was still shocked," Nadia adds. "It's been a long six years. But I'm looking for six more new ones."

The future of the competition seems bright. The Holzbauer brothers out of Eagle River say they have learned more than just about combat.

"I've been doing it for about four or five years," Sam Holzbauer said. "I've learned self control - not to take it too hard."

"It's fun and exciting," Sam's brother Jeff adds. "This is the only time I can do this."

"They're in a controlled environment," Jodi Holzbauer - Sam and Jeff's mother explains. "They know what they signed up for. I think it's (safe)."

This was the second Combat Challenge held in Eagle River this year. The next one is expected to be next year in March.

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Student's family and friends pledge money based on how many laps the kids run around the playground.

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