SOUTH PORTLAND – Fighting is rarely at the core of a friendship, but its often unavoidable for combat athletes. For two in state fighters, one bout birthed something far greater than either could’ve imagined.
August 24th. Oxford, Mississippi. Ellsworth native Chris “Golden Gloves” Sarro steps in the ring for his second bare knuckle fight.
“That’s eight months of tactical training for four separate world class fighters…Everything is trained specifically for one opponent, and that had to be changed five times, that was insane, what it did was it taught me a lot myself, it taught me that I am made for this, custom tailor made for this,” said Sarro.
Sarro made quick work of journeyman Victor Jones without one of his biggest supports ringside, who had made other plans on three days notice.
“First call I make is to my wife saying ‘honey, I know you’re going to hate me but I just got an offer from Bellator, I’m about to say yes it’s not even a question.”
Over 1,700 miles away, Ras Hylton is making his national debut on the prelim for Bellator 242, picking up a win against Rudy Schaffroth.
“I got Chael Sonnen and big John McCarthy commenting on my fight…I was completely having a fan boy moment right from the get go, there’s nothing in this world that could have ruined that experience for me and it turned out better than I could have hoped for,” said Hylton.
The distance did not dull the connection between the two on that Friday night, with each calling the other after their fights. A testament to an intense friendship ignited by one overhand right.
“The guy who knocked me out happened to be a good person on top of that, I’ve gained a friend, a brother and a whole new outlook on the way I approach a fight from the get go,” said Hylton.
Hylton and Sarro first met in September 2019, ahead of their bout at NEF 40 in Orono. Sarro knocked out Hylton in the first round of their bout, Sarro’s first professional knockout and first professional win. The friendship grew quickly, sitting down and breaking bread just hours after Sarro knocked Hylton out.
Golden Gloves’ right hand unloaded five months of pain. Sarro purging the sadness of losing his best friend earlier that year that night in the ring.
“It gave me a chance to show myself some self worth and that there’s worth in this life and worth to sticking it out, so in one way, it was a violent introduction to a friendship, followed by two careers, two lives completely being turned around,” said Sarro.
From that night in Orono, the two fighters connected; helping each other train and helping each other through life. It is a bond they say can only be forged from entering the cage together.
“Any facade, any mask, any anything that’s fake or anything that you have to live up to, you’re stripped at that point, now it’s an honest moment, and its the same for me, anything that I have is stripped…You have no control over those moments, and when you share that with someone, you really get to see someone’s true colors,” said Sarro.
Since Sarro’s overhand right at NEF 40, the two are a combined 4-1 in professional fights, but for them, it feels like 5-0.
“Having this friendship develop the way that it has, I wouldn’t ask for anything else because I’ve gotten not just what I need but what I want out of life,” said Hylton.