Shane Primm figures he can take some of the credit for whatever the crowd is Saturday for Music City MMA’s Rock & Havoc card at Municipal Auditorium.
“My family bought 30 tickets at ringside the moment they went on sale,” the Murfreesboro native said. “I figure that on Saturday night one-quarter of the people in the building will be friends of mine.”
Of course, he can’t take any of them in the cage with him when he faces off against Mike Dolce in a main event that features two veterans of the reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter.
“I don’t know if it helps you at all if people are cheering for you,” he said. “When you’re in the cage, you don’t really hear or think about the crowd because you’re so focused on the other guy and what’s going on.”
Primm (2-1) advanced to the quarterfinals in Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. In the season finale last Dec. 13, he endured his first professional loss when he was forced to submit in the second round by Krzysztof Soszynski.
Dolce (4-6), who’s from New Jersey, was a contestant during Season 7. He ended a six-match losing streak in March with a second-round TKO of Nuri Shakir.
“That show’s a really big deal and provides a boost to your career,” Primm said. “It makes it easier to get fights, and for me it took away stress about money and allowed me to really focus on my career for the first time.”
To that end, he says he used the last seven months to improve certain skills and plans to fight every two or three months going forward. And he’ll do so at middleweight, for which the limit is 185 pounds, after having competed previously at light heavyweight (205 pounds).
Dolce, similarly, also will be a middleweight for the first time. He previously competed a class down, at welterweight.
“It’s a very big move for me,” Primm said. “I was walking around at 202 (pounds) so I never had to cut any weight. I can get to 185 for the weigh-in (24-30 hours prior to a fight) and be at 202 for the fight and I won’t be giving up size and strength to whoever I’m fighting.”
Primm, a graduate of Oakland High School, currently lives in Tampa and trains at Gracie gym under renowned jiu jitsu instructor Rob Khan.
He left Tampa on Tuesday and flew back to Middle Tennessee, where he was eager to see — if not necessarily hear — family and friends.
“I haven’t been home much the last couple years so there’s a lot of people who haven’t seen me in a while and maybe have never seen me fight,” Primm said. “I don’t think (MMA) is a sport where the crowd has a lot of effect… but I’m looking forward to going out with friends after the fight.”
Music City MMA fight card