Senior Ross Richardson Makes MMA Debut

by GABRIEL GAMARRA, Staff Writer

“Out of the red corner, at 5’9”. Weighing in at 155 and one half pounds. He too tonight makes his professional debut. Fighting out of the Bronx, New York; Introducing Ross ‘The Boss’ Richardson!” These words from ring announcer Michael C. Williams solidifies four years of hard-work and training for one Manhattan College student.

Bellator 194 was one of the biggest MMA cards held at the Mohegan Sun located in Uncasville, Ct., this year. While most people were focused on the main card which boasted MMA legends Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione, Jasper Nation was focused on one man who made a decision freshman year to write a new chapter in his life. As the bell echoed through the dark arena, all the lights shined on the cage. Ross’ training at East Coast United BJJ was about to the test on one of the biggest stages in professional MMA.

As a senior who set his focus on pursuing a career with a Chemical Engineering degree, Richardson made a promise to himself early on that he has kept to this day. That promise was to finish his time here regardless of any outside factors.

“I have one more semester left then I am done,” said Richardson. “I think I am going to go back and do my MBA. I’m not sure if I want to go into the industry now, I kind of want to test the waters with the fight game and see where I want to go from there. I definitely want to finish school then when I have my degree, I am going to see which direction I want to go.”

The offer to fight came as a blessing and a bit of a surprise.

“I was a replacement for another fighter,” said Richardson. “I was sitting in RLC doing a project and my coach calls me and asks, ‘How would you like to fight in Bellator on this date?’ I was just like, 100 percent put me in!’ My heart was racing and I couldn’t do more work. I just left and went to my apartment, my heart was just pounding.”

Ross’ opponent Ron Leon was someone that he knew prior to the fight. He fought a few of the other people in his camp so Richardson knew what he was up against. As they moved towards each other, Ron shot for a double leg takedown in one of the most unique ways ever seen in MMA. Leon got on all fours and galloped towards Ross like a dog but in this showboat way of attempting a takedown, he was quickly parried and was taken down.

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Ross Richardson, Manhattan College senior, plans to finish a Chemical Engineering degree this semester. ROSS RICHARDSON/COURTESY

“Before my fights I find a way to stay calm,” said Richardson. “Most people try to get hyped up and intense, I take a different approach. The last two-to-three fights, I’ve found a way to stay calm and I definitely get the chills. I get butterflies and get nervous but it’s a good thing because it’s a fight. When they put my song on and I walked out, I just stayed calm as I walked into the cage.”

Most of the fight stayed on the ground where Ross dominated from the full mount and side control with elbows and strikes. Referee Dan Miragliotta, who is revered in the world of MMA as one of the best, called an end to the fight at two minutes and twenty seconds of the second round marking the first professional win in Ross’ career and the realization that all the work he put in was worth it.

“The support from all my teachers and the other people in the school has been such a blessing,” said Richardson. “Whenever they come to my fights and show support, I appreciate it so much. They make it all so much easier for me.”

The road is still a long and fruitful one for Jasper Nation’s Ross “The Boss” Richardson. His stamp on Manhattan College and Bellator will be one to keep an eye on as he prepares for his next fight. No set date yet, but he hopes for the Madison Square Garden Bellator Card in October.