Jaywalking: Reipold eyes grand finale

  • Rotary Club president Leah Phillips (left) and treasuer A.J. Bresciano (second from left) present Greenfield Minor League president Bobby Campbell (right) and treasurer Alex Siano (second from right) with a check for $3,500 to help offset the cost of a new “Mini Fenway” field at Lunt Field in Greenfield, which is slated to open in July. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Greenfield’s Jeremy Reipold will fight in his final mixed martial arts bout June 16 in Springfield. Submitted photo

Monday, May 28, 2018

If Tom Brady can play quarterback at a high level past age 40, there’s no reason why Greenfield’s Jeremy Reipold can’t do it in a mixed-martial-arts cage.

On June 16, Reipold is going to get his chance.

The Team Ravenous founder will step back into the cage for one final time during Premier Fighting Championship 26 at the Springfield Sheraton. The 42-year-old will take part in his retirement fight, which comes four years after his last fight.

“I was kind of going back and forth about it in my head, the uncertainty of if I was really done or not,” Reipold said. “Not that people always have a retirement fight, but I just felt like there was a good fight left in me for sure. I wanted to put the pressure of fighting on me one last time.”

Reipold and I have been talking about mixed martial arts for at least a decade. When we first began to talk, the sport was still a bit of a niche, but was growing into the monster it has become today. Ravenous has been around during that span, and for the past several years has seen its members training out of a space located on the second floor at 158 Main Street, Suite 9. Members have fought on cards promoted by several companies who work in the Northeast, and PFC has been one of the largest in the area. It was with PFC that Reipold made the leap from amateur fighter to professional four years ago. Reipold was 4-3 as an amateur when he made the jump to professional. He won his debut by technical knockout in 18 seconds.

That was the last time Reipold has been in the cage. He said that he got injured during training for that fight and, although it did not hamper him during his bout, it continued to nag him afterwards. When he began lightly training following his victory, his hip continued to hurt, which forced Reipold to take a step back. At the same time, he got busy working at Yankee Candle. Because professional fighters are paid, it is something they must take seriously. Reipold said that he had not stopped training during his four-year layoff, and one day he finally made a decision.

“I had never retired but it was just slowly happening because the older you get, the harder it is to get back into it,” Reipold said. “I never stopped training and finally said, ‘I just have to do it.’”

“I was kind of going back and forth on whether or not I was really done,” he continued. “I just felt like there was a good fight left in me. I knew I would have to train hard for several months, and that has never really been fun for me, but you take the good with the bad. I wanted to put that pressure on myself one last time. And a fight is a lot of pressure. I still have to be a factory worker while I’m training, I still have to be a husband and father.”

Reipold said he won’t miss putting pressure on his family — wife Faith and 6-year-old son Kaleb. He said that he will be relieved following his fight to not have to put that pressure on his wife again. He said that because of his passion, he has always had full support from his wife, but he is happy that she won’t have to see him injured in the cage. The two also had a long conversation about Kaleb attending, but they decided he would not go.

“He knows what I do but he’s a sensitive kid and he doesn’t like blood,” Reipold said. “That comes into play. I could bleed. I could lose. And I don’t want him to ever look at my fighting as a negative.”

As for finding an opponent, Reipold was approached by Karen West of PFC with an opportunity to climb into the cage with another man who was also retiring and was 10 years older than Reipold. That match never happened, but with Reipold thirsting for one final bout, West came back at him with Jason Rine from Mt. Vernon, Ohio., a 30-year-old who is still looking for his first professional win and enters the bout with an 0-3-0 record. Despite the winless record, Reipold is not taking his opponent lightly.

“All that means to me is that he is hungry as hell to win, and he’s trying to get that win from this old man,” Reipold said.

Rine is a personal trainer and will come into the bout in good shape. Both men normally fight at 135 pounds, but Reipold did not want to cut weight as hard, and asked to take the bout at 145, which Rine agreed to.

With that, local mixed martial arts fans have one final chance to see Reipold in action along with a loaded card on June 16. Those interested can purchase tickets from Reipold by calling 834-2373 or stop by the Team Ravenous Gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30. The gym is located above King’s Gym at 158 Main Street in Greenfield, second floor, Suite 9. Tickets are $40 for general admission or $60 for cage-area seating.

Reipold is also thankful to his sponsors: Pygmalion’s Tattoo of Greenfield, Triforce Farms in Amherst, Beck’s Automotive and Cloutier Landscaping.

Just like that, a local fighter will be hanging it up after coming up through the ranks as the sport he loves grows in popularity.

“It would mean a ton to win my final fight,” Reipold concluded. “It would be a great ending to get one final win in front of my family and friends.”

For more on the June 16 fight card, go to thepremierfc.com.

The Greenfield Minor League recently picked up a nice donation from the Franklin County Rotary Club.

Rotary Club president Leah Phillips and treasurer A.J. Bresciano presented the league with a check for $3,500 from a recent fundraiser the organizations held in March. The money will help the league pay for the new “Mini Fenway” field, which is slated to be ready in July.

The league currently has 176 players who will benefit from the money raised.

Jason Butynski is a Greenfield native and Recorder sportswriter. His email address is jbutynski@recorder.com. Like him on Facebook and leave your feedback at www.facebook.com/jaybutynski.