Feeling Punchy 

The mixed martial arts (MMA) juggernaut continues to punch, kick, and grapple its way forward. The MMA-centric film Never Back Down opened last Friday and features two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou. And this week, BET is set to introduce its new reality show Iron Ring, which includes teams of fighters managed by celebrities such as Ludacris, Lil Jon, Nelly, and Floyd Mayweather.

Of course, the casinos in Tunica and Robinsonville are in the game, hosting an increasing number of MMA events each year. Bang! Gym will be holding its Bang! Fighting Championships on Saturday at Sam's Town. Bang! is based out of the Fisher ATA Black Belt Academy, which has facilities in Horn Lake and Hernando, Mississippi.

"We've only been in mixed martial arts for a year and half, but it's really taken off," says Tammy Fisher, who owns the academy with her husband Fred. "We were able to remodel both of our schools. We expanded the one in Horn Lake, adding an additional 2,400 square feet."

Saturday's event will include 12 amateur bouts featuring fighters from the Fishers' Team Torment and teams from other schools in the area. It's Bang!'s first event at Sam's Town. "It seats 900," says Tammy. "Our goal is to sell it out."

Bang! Fighting Championships at Sam's Town Casino. The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $35.

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