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Tyrone man looking for first win in amateur MMA event Sunday in NJ

Christian DeHaas of Tyrone will be making his second appearance in the amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) circuit this Sunday, September 21 at 4 p.m. in Somerdale, New Jersey at Shady Katie’s Pub and Patio.
He will be fighting in the Asylum Fight League 9/11 event, which is being held in tribute to the heroes of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. The league’s main sponsor is the New Jersey Army National Guard, and all proceeds benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Autism Awareness, and the Burn Foundation.
The Asylum Fight League is a premier MMA league in the Garden State. Sunday’s event features a five man team competition between Team Vicious and Team Zocchi, along with a main event between Frank Peiss and Jon Wood, two local New Jersey firefighters whose fire companies are co-hosting the event with Asylum Fight League.
DeHaas, a 1994 Tyrone Area High School graduate, lost in his first cruiserweight (183-189.9 lbs.) MMA fight back in March in Atlantic City’s House of Blues, Showboat Casino. The defeat came by the hands of the highly touted Philadelphia amateur fighter, Dave Concepcion of Team Quiet Storm.
The bout ended at the 40 second mark of the first round when Concepcion used a guillotine choke submission to force DeHaas to tap out.
Losing is a reality in the MMA world, even to the best of the best. It is a full-contact combat sport where a wide variety of fighting techniques are used, including striking and grappling. The striking consists largely of martial arts degrees of karate, taekwondo, boxing, muay thai, and wing chun. The grappling combines Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, and wrestling.
The most widely recognizable association in the sport is the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), which began in 1993.
DeHaas hasn’t stopped training since the March loss, and he is now preparing to fight newcomer Chris “Drama” Devine of the Rhino Fight Team. Their super middleweight division (166 lbs.) bout is scheduled to be the seventh of thirteen fights on a card that is subject to change.
He has been training in judo and jiu-jitsu, along with dropping 20 pounds to get down to a lower weight class, which has him trying to keep up his strength and cardiovascular endurance.
“I’ve been working on my ground game three days a week and tweaking my stand up,” said DeHaas. “I feel a lot better going into this fight.”
DeHaas’s last fight was with New Breed Fighters, which is owned and operated by Scott Morgan, but this weekend he will be entering the octagon for Asylum, whose president is Carl Mascarenhas, former owner of New Breed, retired MMA fighter, and USKBA (United States Kickboxing Association) Action Sports promoter.
Mascarenhas in well-known in MMA. He made the U.S. WAKO Team (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) and participated in three World Cups, winning a gold medal in 1995 in Stugrat, Germany. He is the 1997 North American continuous contact fighting champion, has trained at UFC champion Guy “Sandman” Mezger’s Lion’s Den training center in Dallas, Texas, and tried out for the Ultimate Fighter television show.
He was also a professional kickboxer in Philadelphia and Europe, and participated in another reality television show over two years ago, American BadAss, which had reportedly been picked up for airing by MTV.
Mascarenhas had a falling out with his partner in New Breed, which sparked the Asylum Fight League that DeHaas will now fight in.
“I’m a fighter and I want to give amateur fighters the same atmosphere, level of competition, and entertainment that they would get at the professional level,” explained Mascarenhas. “My goal is to get these guys to see their dream, and the further I can push them the better – I’m all for it.”
He said that Asylum tries to “evenly match opponents,” which is something he felt DeHaas didn’t get in his first fight in Atlantic City with New Breed. Concepcion was far more advanced in MMA than DeHaas, who drew his experience mainly from training – not from having actual fights under his belt.
Mascarenhas noted that he has only spoken to DeHaas over the phone, but got a good impression of him from their conversations.
“He’s like a good ole’ boy,” said Mascarenhas. “He has a really cool sense of personality and he’s passionate about MMA – I felt like I was talking to someone I knew for 20 years.”
He added, “He’s the type of person we want in this league, and I hope he does well.”
DeHaas, who works a full time job at ORX in Tipton and has a fiancee and son, is exactly what Asylum Fight League is all about. One of the league’s mantras are to “respect and support the struggle that amateur fighters experience in trying to train full time and pursue a dream, while holding down a job, taking care of their families, or going to school.”
Mascarenhas is well connected in the MMA sphere and he knows what it takes to get to a level like UFC. He said that if a fighter in his league is determined and talented enough, he hopes to be able to pave a road that is less bumpy than the roads he had to travel to turn pro.
As for DeHaas’s fight on Sunday, Mascarenhas said that his opponent will be “prepared,” as everyone will be on fight night.
“It’s a war in there,” stated Mascarenhas. “They’ll be both gentlemen before and after the fight, but it’s a war once the bell rings.”
DeHaas said that he’s “anxious” to get in the octagon again and learn from his last experience. The only thing he knows about his opponent, Devine, is that he comes out of a respected fight club.
“The owner of Asylum has been very professional about everything, so I hope to put a good show on for him and the fans,” stated DeHaas. “Win or lose, I will just keep on getting better at my game to move up the ranks at Asylum, and thanks for all the people who have supported me through this.”
Tickets can be purchased for $30 in advance through, or tickets can be bought at the door for $40. The website contains further information about the league, along with Sunday’s fight card and future events.
A streaming live video of the fights can be seen on the website at a cost of $4.99.