Tragedy Hits Hammer House
From Hammer House:
Nathaniel Allen Burress (Sept. 5, 1973 – Oct. 31, 2001), an up and coming Mixed Martial Arts fighter out of the Columbus based Hammer House, tragically passed away while on the brink of his career. An undefeated MMA fighter with a record of 3-0, he had "more promise and drive than I have seen in any other aspiring fighter," said his trainer, former UFC & Pride Grand Prix Champion Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, "he was a falling star [who fell] before his time to shine."
His athletic ambition and ability was evident early on. At Steubenville High School, he was a letterman in both football and wrestling. In football he earned the titles of Eastern District Lineman of the year, All State Lineman, and State of Ohio Lineman. His forte, however, was wrestling, as he was the OVAC State Champ with a record for pins that was unsurpassed in his time at Big Red. His ambition manifested while attending Kent State University, as he simultaneously was a member of both the football and wrestling teams. After attending KSU, he went on to play Arena football for a year with the Missouri Tigers and then for the Wheeling Greyhounds.
Recently, he ventured into the ambitious area of MMA fighting where a year of athletic training was soon to pay off. Due to his knack for wrestling, he declared grappling to be his MMA specialty. After being the first runner up in the Wheeling Tough Man contest, Nate won his first two official MMA fights in the Cage-Rage II held in Kokomo, Indiana. In his most recent fight, held less than 2 weeks prior to his passing on Oct. 20th, Nate shined with victory. His fight lasted over six minutes, and he left victorious bragging that the competitor did not even hit his pretty face. Nate was quoted as being an "animal in the cage" by the Cage-Rage III promoters. Promoters touted him as one that we definitely want to keep our eyes on for the future. Known for his ability to refuse to tap out, he would have been a phenomenon rare even in the no-holds-barred MMA world.
Nate would have been without a doubt one of the most famous people out of Steubenville, Ohio. He was, and still is, the pride of the Ohio Valley for his athletic achievements. Nate’s pride and joy, his only son, Joshua Allen Nichols, resides with his mother Lisa Nichols of Steubenville. Perhaps he will continue to follow in his father’s footsteps in the upcoming years at the Steubenville Big Red, although, because of his son’s exceptional intellect, it was always Nate’s hope that his son pursues academic endeavors first and foremost.
Nate was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and was a resident of Columbus, Ohio in his final days. His recently chosen theme song "Number 1" by his favorite rapper, Nelly, suited him well as his song to come out to before entering the cage. In the eyes of the sports-oriented Ohio Valley and in those of the Hammer House, he will always be #1. Before entering the cage and as well as after exiting it, Nate always knew he was #1. That was the mental edge that always put him over the top.
Mark Coleman had this to say about Nate:
Nate was one of my fighters, but more importantly, he was a good friend. He was so dedicated and determined to become a world champion. He just wanted to know when I was gonna get him a big fight. These are very difficult times for me and the rest of the Hammer House. My thoughts and prayers are with Nate and his family.
I love you,
Our deepest condolences go out to Nathaniel’s family and friends from everyone at FCF. Rest In Peace.