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WSOF's Matt Baker foiled robbery, gave up 73 pounds in a week's work


On paper, Matt Baker, who faces Cody Krahn in a preliminary fight on Saturday's World Series of Fighting 14 show in Edmonton, Alberta, looks to have his back against the wall. Yet, that's nothing compared with two situations he was put in a few months back.

Baker (10-7) is 0-3 in WSOF competition, but in his last fight, he took one for the team. Usually a middleweight, he moved up two weight classes to face a huge heavyweight in former UFC fighter Tim Hague. Baker and Hague each had their opponents drop out shortly before the fight.

Hague cut weight to make 266, and Baker said that when Hague went into the cage, he was 279 pounds. Baker went into the fight at 206 pounds, just enough to qualify to be a heavyweight. 

"I agreed to it, I just wanted to step up," Baker said. "A big promotion like World Series offers you a fight, I'm not going to turn it down. I'm not a guy out there padding my record."

But it was a week before the fight where he had all kinds of thoughts racing through his head when his home was broken into.

"The first thing I thought is that I'm a professional fighter, and I don't know what I'm allowed to do," Baker said about the burglary attempt. "Everyone has a game plan if someone breaks into your house, but when it happens, you've got nothing close to you to use."

The incident took place just before the June 7 fight at the Edmonton Expo Centre, the same place as his fight on Saturday. He had all kinds of thoughts racing through his head when he woke up to noise at  3 a.m. in his home in Kamloops, British Columbia. His thoughts ranged from protecting his home and fiance, but at the same time, wondering if he could get into legal trouble as a pro fighter if he beat the guy up badly. In addition, he didn't want to lose the payday by busting up his hands right before his fight and cost himself a needed payday.

"Some guy went through two doors in our house," he said. "At first, I thought it was my roommate. I opened the door, and it was some crackhead in my house. He reached for something in his bag. I got him before he got me."

Baker was with his fiance at the time. She immediately called 911. The police didn't arrive quickly. Baker estimated it being 20 minutes before they came, at which time his fiance had called 911 a second time.

"She called the second time because she thought I was going to kill the guy."

"I had a hold on him until the cops came," he said. "He's in jail now. I didn't punch him because I didn't know if I could, and I didn't want to hurt my hands before the fight. I choked him out a few times before the cops came. When the cops arrived, he was begging them to be arrested."

The attempted burglary was part of what he was told was a two-man team that had broken into several homes in the area.

If it wasn't so serious, Baker noted there was a funny aspect to the skirmish. As Baker mostly used wrestling and jiu-jitsu moves to subdue the intruder, the perpetrator did a running play-by-play, calling the name of every move after it was used on him.

"He must have done some high school wrestling. He knew some of the stuff I was doing. The guy did some wrestling because he was commentating on it as I was choking him out."

Most importantly, though, he didn't damage his hands before the Hague fight, but joked that he ended up doing so days later.

"His head was big," Baker noted about the first thing he thought when actually in the cage with someone so much bigger than he was. "Every time I punched him, it was like punching a wall. My knuckles hurt for a few months after punching him in the head."

The fight didn't go his way, being knocked out in 3:56.

"I went in confident," he said. "We knew he'd try to take me down. I felt my boxing was better, well, until I got dropped. I was following the game plan to a T, but I got thrown off when his corner was yelling, `head kick.' He was kind of gassing. I got cocky. He threw a head kick. I ducked under, then circled left, right into a big hook that dropped me. I gave the ref a thumbs up, but the ref stopped it. He said with the size difference, he wasn't risking it. I wish it would have went on a little longer."

He's more frustrated about his second WSOF fight, on Feb. 21, also in Edmonton where he lost a split decision to Mike Kent.

"I've had bad luck in Edmonton," Baker said. "The Tim Hague fight was stopped early. I lost split decision to Mike Kent. Even after watching the tape, I'm really confident that I won that fight.  But this is do or die."

"I don't want to leave it to the judges in Edmonton because they usually go for the hometown guys."

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