Lewiston, Maine (January 27, 2014) – When New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts (NEF MMA) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on February 8, one of the fight promotion’s feature bouts on that evening’s card will be a professional lightweight contest between Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (1-2) and Tollison Lewis (0-0). This will not be the first time the two have met in the NEF MMA cage in Lewiston. The pair squared off as amateurs at NEF III in June 2012. Erickson was victorious that night, defeating Lewis via technical knockout (TKO) when the referee stepped in to stop a barrage of unanswered strikes from Erickson. Lewis felt that the stoppage was early. Nevertheless, the rivalry will finally be settled and all questions answered on February 8th when Tollison makes his professional debut against Erickson.
On January 11, the feud between the two lightweights heated up when Lewis took to his Facebook account with a little rhyme he had prepared for his opponent:
“As I’m walking to the ring, there stands Jesse the Viking…my eyes try to make contact. But his nowhere to be found….because the Viking knows if he stand he’ll hit the ground, the bell ring and he tries to push forward thinking why can’t this punishment just be over hit him with a jab hit him with a right he’s showing he can’t handle this fight.. (Referee) Steve Rita’s growing weary ready to step in but he’s just too late and the Vikings met his end…”
Mere moments later, Erickson shared Lewis’s status with a cryptic reply, simply stating:
“I have no words for this… I’ll do my talking in the cage…”
Erickson, a popular coach at Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a native of Auburn, Maine, might have had few words for Lewis, but his fans and teammates were quick to give Lewis an earful. Soon, there was a legion of Erickson supporters posting comments under his status, voicing their displeasure for what they saw as Lewis’s disrespect of “The Viking.” Tollison’s coach Nate Charles, owner of Balanced Ground MMA in Windham, Maine, was quick to come to his student’s defense:
“C’mon it’s all fun! You all know Balanced Ground has always had great sportsmanship and always will. The pre-fight gamesmanship is part of our sport, nothing personal. We all want as many people possible at this event and this post and all the reactions to it will definitely help Jesse and Tollison sell more tickets.”
Cooler heads may have prevailed for the moment, but there is no love lost between Erickson and Lewis. The two-year rivalry will finally come to a head when they take to the cage at “NEF XII” on February 8.
“This isn’t the first time he has disrespected me,” said Erickson when reached for comment earlier today. “He actually tried giving me advice after my loss to (Jon) Lemke for Bellator. Who does that? Who in their right mind messages someone who beat them in 90 seconds and gives them advice on how to fight the day after a loss? This might all be fun and games and poetry to him but I am a professional and I have a job to do. I’ll see you at weigh-ins Tollison.”
“We know we’re in a challenging fight,” stated Lewis’s coach Nate Charles, choosing to focus on the fight itself rather than the drama surrounding it. “Jesse and Tollison are similar because they both never take easy fights. That being said, we are very confident in this fight. I think Tollison turning pro was the best thing we could have done for him at this point in his career. This camp has been his best ever! His motivation is unbelievable! With elbow and knee strikes now added to his arsenal he’s a very scary individual! With respect, I don’t think Jesse has faced the complete striker Tollison has become now. So it will be a very intriguing fight. Jesse’s superb Jiu-Jitsu versus the lights out striking of Tollison. February 8th can’t come soon enough. Come support Balanced Ground MMA and CMBJJ. Don’t blink on this fight! Thanks NEF for the continued support.”
“Look, whether you agree with the trash talk or not, you have to admit that it makes the fight all that much more interesting and fun for the fans,” NEF MMA co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo weighed-in on the matter. “Jesse and Tollison are two of NEF’s perennial athletes. They’re two guys that the public associates with our brand, and I think a lot of people have wanted to see this rematch for quite a while. The time for talk will be over on February 8 and they will settle this in the cage once and for all that night in Lewiston before a crowd of thousands!”
“NEF XII,” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with a bell time of 7:00 pm. In the main event, Maine MMA legend Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-10) faces his former student “THE” Ryan Sanders (5-4) in a much-anticipated welterweight contest. In addition, Maine State MMA Middleweight Champion Jesse Peterson (7-4) will return to action for the first time in nearly a year to defend his title against “Ruthless” Mike Zichelle (6-3). Tickets for “NEF XII” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525. For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com. In addition, you can watch NEF MMA videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”