Fighter, Promoter, Father, Oh My!
Fighter, Promoter, Father, Oh My!
Newest UFC 48 Entry Trevor Prangley Wears Three Hats At Once
By Loretta Hunt
It was a stroke of bad luck three weeks ago when Professional Fighting Association (PFA) promoter Trevor Prangley got word that he’d lost one half of his headliner for his June 3rd "Pride & Fury" event in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Team Quest rep Chael Sonnen had taken a last minute match-up with Jeremy Horn in another event and had sustained twenty-two stitches to his forehead. Sonnen was to have squared off against Lion’s Den fan favorite Vernon "Tiger" White, but a fighter himself; news of Sonnen’s demise didn’t shake Prangley particularly. After thirteen amateur shows with longtime Team Idaho/Lion’s Den coach Derek Cleveland, pulling off their first professional event seemed a foreseeable undertaking. The wheels were set in motion to find White a suitable opponent, that is until White was offered a match-up against light-heavyweight Chuck Liddell at UFC 49.
Prangley couldn’t blame White for his choice to jump events. The South African Olympic wrestling alternate got his call from the UFC a week ago himself. British import Lee Murray was having visa issues, and a capable middleweight would be needed to replace him in his fight with UFC 30 veteran Curtis Stout. Prangley had faired well in his drop to the middleweight division against Russian Red Devil fighter Andrei Semenov back at March’s Euphoria Mixed Fighting Championship. His hard-earned unanimous decision over the feisty UFC 35 and 37 veteran, along with a notable showing before that against eventual IFC tournament winner Renato "Babalu" Sobral last September, had garnered the 8-1 Prangley enough buzz to propel him into America’s premiere MMA promotion.
But, the best was yet to come. Amidst contract signings and card juggling galore, Prangley welcomed the most important little fighter to his brood just two days later when wife Sherrie went into labor five weeks early. Six pound twelve ounce Sebastian Zion made his world debut that Sunday, and both parents couldn’t have been happier.
With his own event and his biggest career opportunity virtually coinciding, as well as a squawking newborn thrown in for good measure, is the old adage "feast or famine" a fitting mantra for the 32-year old fighter? "I just think we get sent tests to make us test our character and so on to see where we’re at," comments Prangley of his harrowing time. "It’s not feast or famine. I think it’s a testing. Life tests you all the time and sometimes, just when you’ve had enough, you get a break. This is one of my times, you know? It’s to see how well you handle it and what kind of character you can build out of it. It’s been tough. I’ll tell you what. This is like the hardest time in my life right now, as far as trying to put everything together."
But, things do have a way of coming together. The Sonnen-White main event has since been replaced with welterweight powerhouse Sean Sherk facing off against Division I Boise State wrestler Eric Heinz. Sebastian and mom are home and resting well, and daddy is squeezing in training for his June 19th showdown with the hopes of etching his place in the UFC middleweight division.
Following June 3rd, Prangley is off to the American Kickboxing Academy to get the finishing touches on his accelerated training with longtime friend and UFC lightweight standout Josh Thomson. The two met during their wrestling days at North Idaho College, and "The Punk" will make the famed march to the Octagon with Prangley when he’s ushered into the Mandalay Bay arena come fight night. Grappling with what life has thrown him in the last few weeks, getting the chance to tussle one-on-one will probably be a treat for the Prangley, an industrious fighter of many talents.