Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

MMA fighter ready for upcoming bout

Spencer Drish has overcome injury to make comeback
By Allyus Fritz | Aug 01, 2013
Courtesy of: Spencer Drish Spencer Drish (right) stands with Jason Keiper, who helped him create Team Invasion.

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Spencer Drish sized up his opponent while advancing across the cage. Sensing an advantage, Drish lifted his leg in the air for a vicious kick.

Then his right knee imploded.

With the exception of the ACL, about everything that a human can tear in their knee tore all at once. A previously unchecked dislocated kneecap from two months before was most likely the culprit. That didn’t matter though. Neither did the sweat on the floor of the fighting surface that most likely should have been cleaned up. His fight was over.

Over seven tough months after his injury Drish is now determined as ever to prove that he belongs in the ring. Intense workouts and a team of friends have Drish back on his feet. He’ll get to prove his worth Friday night in Des Moines at MMC 49 when he takes on Bob Gilmore.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “You spend all this time training and you never get to utilize it.”

After his recent injury, the 6’1 Fairfield native was uncertain whether he would ever fight again. The team that he had created with friend Jason Keiper in 2011, called Team Invasion, made sure that Drish didn’t give up on his goals.

Drish and company recruited a former MMA fighter and black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu named Devin Miller to train with them. Current fighter Nate Williams and former All-American wrestler Bryan Aldon are now members of Team Invasion as well. Drish doesn’t believe that he would be where he is today without the help of individuals like them.

“We’ve been working his leg over to make sure that it’s good,” Aldon said.

Team Invasion spars on a daily basis. They train at and are sponsored by Boom Fitness. Normal fighters need at least eight weeks to train for a specific fight. The first six weeks are intense workouts while the last two normally get the fighter in healthy fighting shape. Because of the importance of Friday night to Drish, instead of training six intense weeks there were eight. The easy two didn’t exist.

Drish now has a grizzled look. He’s unshaven because he has no need to be well kept. Even though they are noticeably smaller, the cuts on his nose that he received while sparring fit right in with the scars on his knees (he severely injured his left knee while playing baseball in high school). Surgeries have left a striking imprint on Drish’s body, but not on his mind.

“Some of us are fighters and some of us aren’t,” he said. “You can tell who is who.”

Drish has been fighting since 2011 and now is 24 years old. He realizes that time is not on his side. Fighting is a young man’s sport. Friday night could be a major turning point in his career. Drish has three more fights planned over the next two months. If he can win at least three out of four his career will surge upward.

“I don’t want to be a stepping stone,” he said. “MMA gave me something to be proud of.”

What does Drish think about Gilmore, his next opponent? Drish believes he has a distinct advantage.

“[Gilmore] is a brawler with heavy hands. I expect to let him gas himself out and then look for an opening to finish the fight.”


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