Central Wisconsin isn't known for pumping out mixed martial arts fighters, but one of Wausau’s very own is on the verge of changing that.
"Without a doubt, Saturday will be the biggest night of my life."
Scott Writz, Wausau born and raised, had wrestled from the time he was five. But it was a trip to his grandparents’ house when he was a teenager, just flipping through the channels on TV, when he found his new love: mixed martial arts
"I thought it (on TV) was wrestling,” said Writz. “As soon as I saw the striking, the ref didn't stop it and it kept going I was like 'Oh, okay, this is awesome, this is what I like to watch, this is for me.'"
Fast forward more than a decade later, after seven years of MMA training, Writz will make his Bellator MMA debut this Saturday as a welterweight under the bright lights in Chicago
Writz explains: "Basically I would say it's almost like the major leagues."
Bellator is the biggest MMA organization in the world outside of the UFC. For Writz, this dream becoming reality was surreal.
"I saw that contract come in, and on the ledger it says ‘Bellator MMA’ and I'm like 'Wow, this is it, this is for real now.’”
Writz has been training at Rising Son MMA in Wausau from the start of his career. Lah Thao, owner of Rising Son, was instrumental in getting him to break some old wrestling habits
"When he came in he was stiff, and it was hard to get him to relax, and get him to think of striking,” said Thao. “His punches and kicks, we've come a long way."
Writz prides himself on being an all-around fighter who can beat you standing up or on the ground. But his two favorite moves when he wants to put someone to sleep are a right hook to the face, or a left roundhouse kick that you'll never see coming.
"I don't want to say I'm addicted to competition but I love competition,” said Writz. “My whole life, everything I've been doing has been about competition. I love it, I love competing."
But why choose a sport where your body is bruised and battered, win or lose, to fuel that competitive drive?
Writz says simply: "I look at MMA as the ultimate competition. Two men locked in a cage, one man gets their hand raised at the end of it. No questions asked, I think of it as the ultimate competition in all of sports."
No matter the result Saturday, Writz's vision for his career is clear.
"(My) ultimate goal is to be looked at as the number one fighter in my weight class in the world."
Watch Scott Writz work, and you'll become a believer that he has more than a punchers chance of making that happen.