Just a day before his scheduled fight, JC Scheller was without an opponent.

His originally booked featherweight (145-pound limit) tilt was scrapped when his opponent pulled out of the Mountain Force MMA XI card in Idaho Falls, so instead he helped set up the venue and waited.

His luck changed two hours before the card got underway when Tony Ramirez, originally scheduled for a 130-pound catchweight bout, was in need of an opponent, too.

“It was his debut fight,” Scheller said. “Tony asked me to fight him. It took a lot of courage for him to step in the cage, and he fought really well.”

Scheller entered with about a 15-pound weight advantage, and he made relative quick work of his opponent, securing a triangle choke in the second round for the submission victory, moving his amateur record to 2-3 overall.

“It was difficult,” the 27-year-old Jacksonite said. “My original opponent was more of a brawler with heavy hands. With Tony, he was very quick, and his left hand was a lot better than my original opponent.”

Scheller, who trains mostly with the Tough as Nails MMA gym in town, said the first round had the two exchanging blows, with the smaller fighter connecting on shots. His background is in boxing, so when Ramirez took him down in the second round and Scheller secured his first submission victory, that was a good sign for his improvements on the ground.

“I was prepared with a heightened defense and a lot of striking,” Scheller said. “Tough as Nails helped me prepare for anything and got me more comfortable with my jiu-jitsu. That’s how I was able to get my sub.”

Mountain Force MMA is a promoter based in Utah that puts on fights throughout the West. Previously, Scheller had fought for Sparta Combat League, based out of Colorado. Next on tap for Scheller is a Harden Fight Company card Sept. 14 in Casper. His opponent hasn’t been booked, but he’s hoping to fight a legitimate featherweight then.

As for his future in the sport, he hopes to continue using his mixed martial arts training to improve. Both in the cage and outside it.

“I would like to grow with my personal life and also be humble in the cage,” Scheller said. “It starts with my personal life, and that’s what it takes to be a true professional athlete.”

Contact Chance Q. Cook at 732-7065, sports@jhnewsandguide.com.

Sports Editor Chance Cook has lived in rural Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Butte, Montana. He is no stranger to spending time in the woods chasing animals. If you see him out, challenge him to a game of pool. Send tips and questions.

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