MMA fighter Yates, father buy Cage Wars

Cage Wars has new ownership.

In June, Alex Trottier and Bush Cree Promotions sold the Grand Junction-based mixed martial arts event for an undisclosed amount to professional MMA fighter Andrew Yates and his father, Steve Yates.

“Alex was ready to retire and he offered (it) to us,” Steve said. “It was something Andrew and I had talked about for after he was done fighting. Obviously he’s not done fighting, but it was the right opportunity at the right time. With Andrew’s connections in the industry and my business connections locally, it fit.”

Andrew Yates, a Central High School graduate, has kept close connections to the Grand Junction MMA scene. He fought in Cage Wars before signing with the World Series of Fighting in 2013. While in the WSOF, Andrew Yates used his networking skills to bring fighters to Grand Junction.

Many of Andrew Yates’ training partners have fought in Grand Junction, including Ultimate Fighting Championship strawweight Paige VanZant.

Under the new ownership, Steve Yates said the goal is to create a more fan-focused experience, as well as improving the quality of opponents, but maintaining the relationships with local gyms and fighters.

Weigh-ins will take place at Buffalo Wild Wings, with UFC-style introductions. Fighters will be introduced, with some background on their individual style, before they step on the scale. The fighters will then pose face-to-face after the weigh-in.

Cage Wars XVIII, scheduled for July 19 at Two Rivers Convention Center, will feature former Strikeforce fighter Kim Couture as a special promoter. Couture, a Colorado native, is the ex-wife of UFC Hall of Fame fighter Randy Couture.

“We want to make it one of those events where people are getting turned away at the door because we’re sold out,” Andrew Yates said. “That comes from knowing you’ll see fighters who are professionals.

“You want guys who are trying to put food on the dinner table. We’re getting guys who have a shot at one of the big shows, and we’re moving away from guys who are fighting just to fight.”

Andrew Yates said the other focus was setting up a balanced, unpredictable fight card.

“For the last Cage Wars, I picked who nine of the 10 winners were going to be. If I can do that, I’m probably not the only one,” he said.

“The card we have coming together for this one, I couldn’t tell you who is going to win, and a lot of them could come down to a decision or a third-round submission or knockout.”

Calls to Trottier and Bush Cree Promotions for comment were not returned.


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