Boetsch 'pumped' to return for UFC event for hometown fansLincolnville native, CRHS grad takes part in co-main event Aug 16. in Bangor
Lincolnville — Lincolnville native Tim Boetsch is coming home.
Not just to visit his family and friends, but to train for and compete in a fight he hopes will put him back in the discussion for a middleweight championship match.
The 33-year-old Boetsch, who currently resides in Sunbury, Pa., will compete in an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) card on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
It will be the first UFC fight held in the Pine Tree State, so, naturally, Boetsch is excited to be part of it.
“I'm very excited to be coming home,” he said in a phone interview July 17. “To be able to be fighting in front of the hometown crowd, it's a very cool thing to be coming back. I did a lot of wrestling in the state and had a lot of success competing there early on in life, so to be able to come back now and still be competing, I'm very pumped about it.”
Boetsch, a 1999 graduate of then Camden-Rockport High School, was a four-time state individual Class B wrestling champion and went on to attend Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania on a mat scholarship, where he also majored in criminal justice.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Boetsch is 17-7 and ranked 13th in the middleweight division for UFC. He will face 14th-ranked Brad Tavares (12-3) of Las Vegas, Nev. and Kailua, Hawaii at the CIC. His fight will be the co-main event and the second to last fight on the card.
He admitted there is pressure to perform in his home state.
Thankfully for Boetsch, he thrives on it as he said “regardless where the venue is, I expect to do very well and to bring my best performance.”
“As a wrestler you experience the same sort of thing,” he said. “It's just you versus your opponent in there. Now obviously you've had a team with a bunch of guys to help you prepare for the fight and you have that team feeling during training, but once that cage door locks, it's just you and your opponent.”
Boetsch, known as “The Barbarian” in the octagon, started his amateur MMA (mixed martial arts) career in 2006 and “moved very quickly into the pro ranks” of the UFC, with his first career fight being a win over David Heath at UFC 81 in February of 2008.
“I was very fortunate with how fast I was able to develop my career, but I did that by winning impressively when I first starting fighting,” he said. “And I think that's the key: To be an exciting fighter, to get noticed and to win impressively.”
At 17-7 Boetsch has had his share of both ups and downs in the octagon. He recalled his toughest night in the octagon as a night he had a “real bad rib separation” in a fight against Costa Philippou at UFC 155 in December of 2012.
Later in the fight he had his nose broken in what he described as a “rough night all-around.”
He said his injuries from that fight all-in-all took “about six months to heal.”
“Luckily I'm a pretty durable individual and I've been able to do this sport for a long time without any serious injuries,” he said, while adding he has never been knocked unconscious or concussed during a match.
“As a fighter, you know you're going to get punched in the face, so I think it's just an understanding when you make that career choice that it's something this is potentially going to happen,” he said.
In Boetsch's line of work, injuries are part of the package. And with injuries, can come concussions.
Not only is Boetsch aware of it, he is looking to help the UFC get ahead of it as he is one of several fighters taking part in an ongoing study in Las Vegas where he has MRIs performed to determine the affects of brain trauma.
He said: “So far, I'm doing pretty well.”
“Brain health obviously is an issue [for MMA fighters],” he said. “There's a long life after fighting and definitely want to be functional after that. But, honestly, MMA is a lot safer than some of the other contact sports like boxing. There's relatively a small amount of actual brain trauma that takes place in mixed martial arts just because of the multiple ways of finishing fights.”
When asked what kind of money UFC fighters bring in, he deflected, as he has been known to do in the ring, while adding that “at this stage in my career, it certainly pays the bills.”
“We're all under contract for a set amount [of money],” he said. “You get show money to show up to the fight, you get win money to win the fight and if you put on a good fight, you're probably going to get some bonus money. At this level, you can definitely make a career of it.”
While Boetsch will be in Maine for the next few weeks visiting family and friends, he plans to continue to train rigorously for his upcoming fight, while also knocking a few things off his bucket list in the process.
“We always have a nice lobster feed while we're up there, so that's one thing I'm definitely looking forward to,” he said. “And I'm definitely planning on getting out on a couple lakes while I'm up there and doing some fishing.”
A peaceful hobby for a man in a profession that offers little to none of it.
“That was the other thing I did all the time growing up in Maine,” he said. “Just getting on the lake and fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass. So I'm going to make sure I make time to get that done while I'm up there.”
Boetsch has competed in big arenas in front of thousands of fans over the years, but said, “Part of being a professional athlete is remaining focused throughout the fight regardless of what the crowd is doing.”
“You can definitely feel the energy from the crowd, but that can be a positive or negative thing,” he said. “Sometimes crowds get a little anxious and want you to pick up the action, which might not necessarily be the smartest thing to do at the time.”
That might be more difficult next month when he fights in front of a more than partisan crowd less than 50 miles from his hometown.
Despite that fact, Boetsch said he will remain focused on the task at hand: Namely beating Tavares, working his way back up the ladder and, hopefully, earning a shot against middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the future.
“My recipe for success is pretty consistent,” he said. “I have to impose my will, I have to move forward and I have to stay aggressive. If I'm able to do those things, I see myself coming out on top.”
Tim has a wife, Jade, and three children: 6-year-old Christian, 3-year-old Sinley and 1-year-old Benson.
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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