Thursday, June 13, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Since turning professional in mixed martial arts, Brenson Hansen has compiled more canceled bouts than actual fights.
Hansen, in fact, estimates he’s had double the number of fights scrapped than actually come to fruition. The 23-year-old local holds a record of 4-1 in five bouts, coincidentally the same number of fights he recalls getting canceled last November in one month alone.
“I was supposed to fight in California, Las Vegas, Arizona, Utah,” Hansen said. “Then everything would fall through — promoters didn’t get permits, my opponent pulled out, there wasn’t enough money for my opponent to fight me. I was in a never-ending camp.”
Hansen grew immune to the disappointment of having to wait longer than desired, or feasible, for the opportunity to earn a paycheck and accelerate his career. Then he got the only thing he ever really wished for — steady work in the cage.
Hansen signed with locally based World Series of Fighting earlier this year. He makes his second appearance for the promotion Friday at The Joint at the Hard Rock on the undercard of WSOF 3, which starts at 4:30 p.m. and airs on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m., in a featherweight bout against Josh Montalvo (0-0).
“Without a doubt, Brenson’s one of the most talented young fighters on our roster, and we look forward to his progression,” WSOF President Ray Sefo said. “With that kind of talent, it’s just a matter of time before he becomes a champion.”
Hansen wasted no time making the most of his first opportunity on a major card. At WSOF 2 three months ago in Atlantic City, Hansen knocked out Tom Marcellino with a flying knee in the second round.
The WSOF and NBC Sports Network decided to air the bout as part of their “Future Champs” series in April. Hansen naturally carved time out of his schedule to be in front of television for the broadcast.
“It was a huge accomplishment to turn on the TV and see myself,” Hansen said. “Everything is going right, and I’m glad things have gone the way they have. Looking back now, it makes it all worth it.”
Hansen made several sacrifices to go after his fighting aspirations. Fresh out of high school in Hawaii, he decided to move to Las Vegas without as much as a single amateur fight on his ledger.
With the help of old friend and roommate Brad Tavares, who was coming off of the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Hansen quickly found places to train with sparring partners and instructors superior to any with which he’d ever worked. Hansen became a mainstay at Xtreme Couture, one of mixed martial arts’ most storied gyms, where Sefo was the head coach.
Before Sefo ever signed Hansen for his promotion, he helped the young fighter polish his skill set.
“I’ve got to connect with my guys before I coach them, and I don’t connect with just anybody,” Sefo said. “I’ve got to know that they are good human beings, good people and they live this martial arts lifestyle. I love coaching guys like Brenson because they are so athletic and talented, yet also so dedicated.”
The assistance Hansen found in Las Vegas exceeded all his expectations. It was in other areas that reality didn’t match the perceptions he had as a teenager in Hawaii.
“I thought there would be a lot more fights,” Hansen said. “What actually happens is you get here and there aren’t many shows in Vegas unless it’s a huge show like the World Series of Fighting or the UFC. There aren’t really a lot of other opportunities in Vegas.”
Hansen exhaustively tried to round up fights on smaller shows in neighboring states. But he learned the bookings were unreliable.
Hansen thought he had a tougher time finding bouts than other fighters in similar situations because of his background.
“When you say you train at certain places, guys back down,” Hansen said. “These days, guys just want to build their records and not fight anyone tough until they get to a certain level.”
Needing money because of the indefinite layoffs in between fights, Hansen started working in the nightclub industry. He held jobs at Marquee and Blue Martini, but they ultimately got in the way of training and were short-lived.
Hansen now has a singular focus: to work his way up the WSOF ranks by fighting as often as possible.
“They’ve already got cards scheduled for August and September,” Hansen said while smiling. “We’ll see how this one goes, but I hope I can fight on one of those next. I’m just fortunate and grateful to be in this position.”