Column: Pine Ridge fighter steps into tough ring
"John Stover says he's just a regular guy from Pine Ridge - a regular guy who's 6'2 and 345 pounds. He does odd jobs and hangs drywall to make ends meet.

There's one other thing you should know about John Stover: "I'm probably the only 345 pound guy who can kick another guy in the head if I had to."

That's how Stover came to spend Saturday night in a cage in Arizona, surrounded by screaming fans, getting his nose crushed by Tommy Morrison - a former heavyweight boxing champion who many believe is HIV positive.

Stover was fighting a boxer, but he is not a boxer, and this was not billed as a boxing match. Stover competes in MMA, a violent sport that has grown in popularity rapidly in recent years. Combatants wear light gloves and use virtually any technique (some caveats: no biting, groin kicking, kicking while down and a few other no-no's) to subdue their opponent. His professional record is seven wins, one loss.

Morrison was trying his hand at MMA for the first time, loudly proclaiming MMA fighters inferior to pro boxers.

Stover was confident. "I'm notorious for banging," he said. In his first and last year of high school wrestling at Red Cloud High School in Pine Ridge, he finished third in the state."

Get the Story:
Nestor Ramos: More than a fight (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 6/15)

Another Story:
Rumble in the Red Rock (The Camp Verde Independent 6/12)

Relevant Links:
Worldwide Fighting Championship -