When you have the wrestling background of MMA prospect Tyree Fortune, there are undoubtedly going to be some fighters who view you as a threat. When you add to that wrestling background a nearly 20-fight amateur MMA career, that threat level goes way up. Fortune is one of the top up and coming MMA fighters in the state of Oregon and a dangerous matchup for most. This Saturday night at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington, he will be back in action when he takes on Jose Rocha at CageSport 45: Erosa vs. Herrington.
As a senior at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Fortune was the state runner up in both Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling. From there, he headed to Clackamas Community College to continue wrestling. After two seasons at Clackamas, Fortune was ready for a new challenge and he took up with the team at Impact Jiu Jitsu to begin his MMA journey. His early MMA career was a slower process than he was used to and for him, it was hard to see his teammates get the push ahead of him. Still, he waited.
“Having 5 years as an amateur was great, in that I got a lot of experience,” Fortune said. “But at the same time I am watching [several of my teammates]go pro before me and all I could think was, ‘Why am I not ready?’ But instead of worrying about it I just told myself that when I went pro I was going to make the most of it and solidify my spot then.”
Today, Fortune is training with Gracie Barra Portland and he has absolutely made the most of his professional career thus far. He is 2-0 and secured a huge win over highly touted Irish prospect Ben Forsyth this past December. With his third fight on the horizon and another booked for this summer, Fortune is hoping for a big 2017.
“I am trying to fight as much as I can this year. I can’t slow down if I want to get noticed by [the UFC or Bellator].” Fortune then went on to give credit to his coaches and teammates: “The Gracie Barra team has come together so well and how we are building is crazy…I get to train with so many black belts and brown belts. I see who other people are training with and I know that there is nobody I am going to fight that gets the training I do.”
With each fight Fortune wins, the expectations for this powerful light heavyweight grow. Recently, MMASucka.com listed him as one of the top 10 prospects in the sport, mentioning him alongside fighters like Curtis Blaydes, Jose “Shorty” Torres, and Tom Doquesnoy. Two of those guys are already in the UFC so no pressure or anything. He told me that he doesn’t let the expectations get to him because his own expectations are just as high. With explosive takedowns and surprising power, Fortune is slowly becoming a well-rounded fighter who also happens to possess a great deal of natural athleticism and that’s package top promotions are always looking for. Fortune might only have a few fights left on the regional scene if he continues this upward trajectory; don’t miss your chance to see this homegrown talent fight live in the Pacific Northwest this weekend.