By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
Heading into his 11th professional mixed martial arts fight, Justin Schmit didn’t really know that much about his opponent.
And it didn’t really matter in the end.
On the last day of September, Schmit entered the 205-pound, light-heavyweight division in the Rumble In The Cage 55 event in Lethbridge against the then 4-3 Sheldon Doll.
Wanting to seize momentum, Schmit tried to make the first move, but got caught.
The Animal (4-7) dove with both feet at Doll’s legs, trying to take him to the ground and avoiding the fight turning into a brawl.
Doll, who stands 6-foot-2, skirted the dive tackle and had the 5-foot-10 Schmit in a vulnerable position.
Then, in one quick strike, delivered an elbow that contained a heavy dose of Nyquil to the sweet spot behind Schmit’s ear, knocking him out
Schmit was unaware of the constant pounding his face took until the ref stopped the fight at the 30 seconds mark of the first round. It was the third time the Animal has been knocked out in his professional career.
Watching the film hours after the match, Schmit counted seven or eight quality blows to his grill by Doll, before the ref called the fight.
Fighting in his hometown, it was Doll’s second knock out of his pro career and his third straight win.
Surprisingly, there was no serious damage sustained to Schmit’s face – other than being a little tender.
When Schmit came to, a field of doctors surrounded him.
“I was probably out of it for longer than the fight lasted,” joked Schmit the following evening.
Collecting his thoughts, Schmit will now take some time to help out some of the younger athletes that train at Apex MMA gym
Schmit will have to endure the mandatory 90-day medical suspension, followed by an MRI and CAT scan before he renews his fight license.
“Right now, I’m looking forward to getting Seth Buss into his first MMA fight,” said Schmit. “We have a couple offers on the table, but we can’t announce anything until the contract is finalized.”
Buss is a 15-year-old Grade 10 student at Strathmore High School. If he can finalize a contract, he would be one of the younger fighters in the nation.
At 32, the ability to help develop the next generation of Strathmore fighters is just as rewarding as getting in the ring himself.
It’s also a lot easier on his face.
“It certainly wasn’t my first beating; I’ve broken my nose several times before. It happens,” said Schmit. “Right now, I am just going to shift my focus, re-evaluate things, get back to the drawing board and help out some of the younger guys in my gym.”