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Manitoba News

With nine homegrown fighters on the 12-fight card, Canada is well represented at UFC 297.

It’s the same for the referees. Four of the six working Saturday night are Canadian in Jerin Valel, Todd Anderson, Brian E. Beauchamp and Mathew Rocca. The other two are England’s Marc Goddard and American Kevin McDonald.

For Winnipeg’s Valel, whose first UFC refereeing assignment was UFC 131 in June 2011 in Vancouver, martial arts have been a constant in his life.

A former fighter on the regional circuit himself, he wrestled at university and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Valel, who is his mid-40s, continues to train today.

“My cauliflower ear and deviated septum are well-earned,” he said cheerfully.

Valel has since served as a referee around the world in the UFC, Bellator, PFL and other promotions. He has also worked as a judge and review official.

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Valel dismissed the UFC in …

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