Amateur MMA: Before the Gloves

By Erika Mahoney

January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 12:51 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) In a small studio in Vestal, Alex Sinprasith is focusing on the little things: The pitter-patter of feet and the sudden outbursts of laughter.

"All the familiar faces, it's really comforting to see," Sinprasith said.

He may be coaching at the Power of One Mixed Martial Arts Studio now, but soon, the 23-year-old will be taking the big cage. An estimated 3,000 people will be watching his every move.

Sinprasith is one of 28 competition in Binghamton's first amateur MMA show called Art of Combat II.

It will be his eighth competition, but the first performed in his hometown.

He said when the bell rings, he experiences tunnel vision.

"The best way I can describe it is just like having a TV on in the background," Sinprasith said. "But instead of it being a TV, it's a crowd. It's a really mixed feeling because thousands of people are watching but you can really only focus on one person, which is your opponent."

He says the fight is a journey and a time to learn and teach.

"I just want to show them the warrior spirit," Sinprasith said. "That no matter what happens in the cage, just persevere through it and eventually you come out stronger, win or lose."

"He teaches us that if you stay focused, you can get through everything," Marisa Longo. "And practice, practice, practice."

These are lessons he learned from his own coach.

"He knew when he stepped in he wanted to compete at some point, " Power of One CEO Jason Porter said. "That was a big goal of his, so I'm really proud that he has been able to fulfill that goal."

For now, his gloves are off, but Sinprasith said the week before a competition is a roller coaster of emotions.

"One day you're feeling great and you're ready to go and the next day you're like what am I doing," he said.

It's a coaster that is bound to take him for a ride. But when it's go time, he's all in.

Sinprasith said he hopes to become professional some day.

The Art of Combat III takes place at 7 p.m. Friday at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Doors open at 6 p.m.