Who is that masked man?
That’s what MMA fans will be wondering June 18 at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam. But they won’t have to wait long to find out.
Chris “Bukwas” Anderson plans to wear a Bukwas (wild man of the woods in Kwakiutl legend) mask his cousin Vincent Moon designed for him on his walk from the gate to the cage when he defends his pro welterweight championship against Curtis Harriott at Battlefield Fight League 44.
Born and raised in the Comox Valley, Anderson is a member of the Namgis First Nation and has family in Alert Bay. Family and community mean a lot to the talented MMA competitor.
“With the win bonus I got from my last title fight we took a bunch of sports equipment to Alert Bay (where his grandmother lives). The rec centre doesn’t get funding. They had a lot of old, ratty gear so we bought them some brand new stuff.”
Anderson brought top-of-the-line gear, from Messi soccer balls and full goalie equipment, to baseballs, footballs, volleyballs and basketballs.
The band held a supper for Anderson, who was quite happy to sign autographs. He says he plans to give back to the community after his June 18 fight and is still considering what he will do. “I’m kind of random in how I pick. Usually I’ll see something along the way that catches my attention and I’ll go, ‘OK, that’s what I’m gonna do there.’” (In 2015 Anderson used a fight to raise money for a clean water well for a pygmy tribe in the Congo).
After a successful 10-2 amateur career, Anderson has been catching the attention of MMA followers since turning pro in the fall of 2015. He is 3-0, winning the BFL welterweight belt over defending champion Harriott (3-1) in just his third pro fight.
Anderson’s history with Harriott makes their June 18 showdown a true grudge match – Anderson is 2-0 in the rivalry, having handed Harriott his only loss as both an amateur and a pro. Their third bout – the main event – will mark the first time in BFL history that a former champion will get an automatic rematch. Considering their last fight ended on a doctor stoppage a 2:43 of the second round, Anderson is unsure why Harriott is demanding such an early rematch.
It was the main event of BFL 42 on March 12 in the River Rock Casino in Richmond. Anderson very nearly put Harriott away with a couple of left hooks late in round one. “We came out for the second and had a little exchange, trading kicks and punches. I got him down and hit him with an elbow that cut him up.
“The ref had to call a timeout. The doctor had a look and had to stop it there because it was too bad of a cut. The cut man said (the six-inch gash to the forehead) was the worst thing he’s ever seen.
“It was just one of those unfortunate accidents. You don’t ever want to really hurt someone.” Noting there’s no way Harriott’s wound will be fully healed, Anderson adds, “People keep asking if I’m going to attack his scar. I just say no. If it gets hit, it gets hit. I’m not going to pick at his weak point.”
Anderson, who trains locally at Bill Fraser’s Academy of Martial Arts and Fitness (jui jitsu and wrestling) as well as Scott Jepson’s Knockout Martial Arts (kickboxing), says the pro ranks have been treating him well as he continues to climb the rankings both in Canada and North America.
“It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. I’m pretty motivated with the things I’m doing,” said Anderson, who is now a regular in BFL main events.
Future Looks Bright
And bigger and better things await. “If I win this fight they want me to fight Matt Dwyer (8-4 as a pro) who has had four UFC fights. He went the same route as me with Battlefield. He had an amateur career then went pro with them and held the same belt I’ve got.
“He ended up getting cut by UFC, and now he’s back (at BFL) he wants his belt back. I’ve got to try my best to spoil his party and take his hype – he wants to get back to UFC. UFC will be watching, so it’s a big opportunity. But I’m not looking past Harriott yet. He’s a skilled fighter.” – and out for revenge after two straight losses to Anderson.
Anderson’s first two pro opponents have expressed no desire to step back into the cage with him. At his pro debut Oct. 17, 2015 at BFL39 “Bukwas” TKO’d Stuart Deleurme (1-3) on punches at 4:03 of the first round.
At BFL41 on Jan. 22, 2016 Anderson won a unanimous three-round decision over David Perron(7-7). “It was a very dominant decision,” Anderson said. “There were a couple of 10-8 rounds which means he didn’t get any offence at all.”
The fight was the co-main event on the card which saw Harriott win the BFL welterweight bout in the other co-main tilt. Anderson has been considered the underdog in all his pro fights, but his Comox Valley Boxing Club & Mixed Martial Arts Bulldogs’ training has helped make him the top dog every time out.
While Anderson prefers to fight early on a card so he can relax and watch the other fights, those days are behind him as the undefeated, up-and-comer now regularly headlines BFL’s pro cards.
If you can’t make it to Coquitlam on June 18, what are your chances of seeing Anderson defend his belt? Excellent. Anderson says The Avalanche Bar & Grill in Courtenay will be showing BFL44, with undercard action starting around 6 p.m.