On Nov. 4, Humboldt County’s own Cass Bell will be in action at the Heights in Trinidad to defend his title in the 145-pound division.
Bell was last in action in July at the Sapphire Palace when he defeated Tim Riscen via TKO less than 90 seconds into the match. While it’d be easy to assume with a result like that Bell would have to be laser-focused on training and preparations for the fights, but not so. Bell spends much of his time training local youth fighters.
Whether it is training with wrestlers at the Institute of Combat boxing gym, coaching wrestling at Arcata High, or traveling with them for wrestling tournaments as he did last weekend when he went to South Carolina with Curtis Bartley, a Del Norte High wrestler.
And even with his own children, with his son set to start high school wrestling this year on Bell’s own team along with his daughter and her plans of earning the triple crown in the boy’s division.
Despite his successes as a fighter and his upcoming bout, Bell seems just as locked in on the other parts of his life. Speaking on the importance of helping youth fighters going through the same things he went through a couple of decades back.
“I always got in trouble in class because I could never sit still, I wanted to wrestle kids but at the time I couldn’t do that,” Bell said, “I connect with them and talk to them. Especially the wilder ones like I was, when I was a kid.”
In middle school, a friend’s parent introduced Bell to wrestling, which was where Bell was able to use as an outlet for his energy and physicality
“I fell in love with it,” Bell said, “I realized I could do this and not get in trouble, it actually changed my whole demeanor around.”
Bell is able to see a lot of himself in some of the young and wily fighters that he trains with. He tries to illustrate to them how the training can build discipline while giving them an appropriate release for their energy.
“I tell the kids and the parents, especially the rowdy ones,” Bell said, “it’s fine. Yes, in the beginning, they’re wild and all over the place but once they find the love for this sport, once they focus, they will do so well.”
Bell is able to fit the training for his own fight seamlessly into his coaching schedule, citing that he just trains with them. He says they’ll “probably” cancel the practice the day before his upcoming fight so he can focus on making weight but other than that it’s just business as usual. Bell’s willingness to work beside his fighters’ in practice goes a long way in establishing trust from the students.
“Everything I run them through, I’ve been through in practices,” Bell said, “I tell them, ‘I know what you’re going through, I know how hard this is.’ It makes it so much easier for them to take what I’m saying and run with it.”
It was a long journey for Bell from his high school days to getting to the point where he’s headlining fights in his home county. He spent years accepting any fights, traveling and looking to build a name for himself as a fighter. Bell didn’t have a direct path to becoming a Bellator fighter, he didn’t have a local professional fighter as a mentor to guide his journey. Now he tries to fill that void for the North Coast.
“I always learn by doing it myself, learning it the hard way. But that takes a lot longer to do,” Bell said, “But now we have a really good path on what it takes to get to that level.”
While Bell loves his job as a trainer, the 36-year-old still has been putting work in the ring. Bell’s professional MMA record is 7-3 with an amateur record of 22-7 with a decade of fighting experience under his belt.
Bell’s next opponent is Edward Schmehl, a 32-year-old out of Sun Valley, Nevada. Schmehl has an MMA pro record of 3-0 and an amateur record of 7-5.
“I love the coaching and I love the fighting but I am getting older so I only have a couple more years in my body to keep pushing it,” Bell said.
When Schmehl caught wind that Bell was searching for an opponent to fight, Schmehl reached out to the promoter wanting to face off against him in the cage, which is a tenacity Bell seemed to appreciate.
“He really believes he’s going to take me out, which is exciting. I love up-and-coming fighters because he’s going to give it everything he’s got,” Bell said.
Tickets are available starting at $55 for the event, there’s five pro fights scheduled along with another four amateur fights that are littered with local fighters.
Dylan McNeill can be reached at 707-441-0526.