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‘American Bulldog’ downs Russian

Morrison wins fight; gets married

— Lee Morrison paused barely a moment over the Thanksgiving holiday to contemplate what he’s accomplished in the last few weeks.

The always on-the-go fighter, coach and most recently husband, was moving into a new home over the weekend.

“It’s been quite the process moving into a new house between coaching and working out and all that fun stuff,” Morrison said. “The move will be fully done in the next couple days, which will be really exciting.”

Morrison and his wife, Sarah, were married Nov. 2 following a whirlwind that included the mixed martial artist winning a split decision in Russia.

Morrison (13-3), fighting in an M-1 Global produced bout, took a split decision Oct. 20 against Mikhail Malyutin (27-12) in the Russian’s hometown, St. Petersburg.

“He was kind of the hometown golden boy,” Morrison said. “It was a really tight fight. It went to the judges’ scorecards. They had to be pretty impressed on how I competed for the split decision.

“Mikhail was supposed to be fighting for the title, but they said, ‘Let’s let him fight Lee Morrison and that will give him a title opportunity,’” Morrison said of his not being the favorite to win.

The win sets Morrison, known as the American Bulldog, up for a shot at a featherweight title possibly in April 2014, also in Russia. He’d been offered the fight in January.

“I told them I had too much going on in my life,” Morrison said. “Hopefully, I am going back over there and kicking another Russian’s butt.”

Morrison, 7-0 in professional fights as a featherweight (no losses for three years), is currently ranked worldwide about 50th after climbing into the ring ranked around 95. Morrison, who started fighting in 2008, has won by 4 knockouts, 4 submissions and 5 decisions. He’s never been knocked out.

Morrison competed at 145 pounds in high school. He wrestled at 157 pounds for Menlo College in California, where he was an NAIA All-American.

The victory was a $6,000 payday. The fight for a belt will be $12,000 or more.

As for the fight’s future, Morrison said, “I have to work on all kinds of stuff before I go back.”

That will include training in Florida, where his manager, Jason Ellis, is located.

Ryan Harvey of the Cannibull Fight Team in Tonasket coaches Morrison.

Morrison came out of the fight mostly unscathed.

“I got a tiny cut on the bridge of my nose,” he said. “Other than that, it was a pretty injury-free fight.

“Which is nice. When you come out of a 15-minute (each of three rounds is five minutes) war, you usually come out with some injury or blemish. A black eye, bloody nose, my cauliflower ear sticking out more than normal.”

After the fight, Morrison returned for a two-day bachelor party before getting married Nov. 2.

“It was awesome, couldn’t have gone better,” he said of the wedding with about 100 attending at Omak’s Cornerstone Church. “Sarah and I both got cake in the face. She went first, I went back at her with some.”

The couple jumped in a Jeep, zipped over to Spokane and flew to Hawaii the next day.

While in Hawaii, Morrison found a way to get to an Ultimate Fight Championship gym in Honolulu.

“My wife let me get away for a few hours,” he said.

They returned Nov. 12 and took a week off before Morrison started assisting Okanogan High School wrestling coach Andy Knutson starting Nov. 18.

“I do most of the technique stuff,” Morrison said. “You have to have good fundamentals, then build along the way.

“I like to spend a little more time on the quality moves, the core moves,” Morrison said. “We may not get through as many moves as other schools, but the wrestlers will be pretty solid.”

Morrison’s game plan, besides the spring fight, includes earning his teaching credentials and professional fighting for the next five or six years.

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