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“The one thing I am most proud about Fort McMurray is the people. The people that live, work, and raise their families here.”

Like most big men, Sandy is gentle when you first meet him. But if you watch him in his MMA fight with Butterbean, you realize appearances can be deceptive. His opponent had by then had 66 knockouts in his career and had owned a version of the world heavyweight title at one point. Sandy took him down.

Sandy doesn’t promote fighting as much as he teaches discipline and training. He uses professional sports as a means to do that, but everyone who has ever been trained by him has nothing but respect for him. A Physical Education graduate of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Sandy came to Fort McMurray on a trip across country and never left.

Now the owner of two gyms in YMM, Sandy teaches Olympic Taekwondo, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and Muay Thai, and Boxing. Sandy has trained with the Miletich Fighting Systems of Iowa, one of the first MMA stables, and in addition to coaching MMA, he is a seventh degree black belt in in Taekwondo as well as his training in other contact sports, Sandy was the Sport Chair for wrestling at the Western Canada Summer games here in YMM and is also the President of the Fort McMurray Mixed Martial Arts Association. This is a non-profit that provides funding for children in martial arts. He also teaches Stranger Danger in the schools and ladies self-defense.

So he’s a businessman, a committed volunteer in the community and a man who teaches girls and women how to defend themselves against unwanted attention, sadly an important skill in this day and age. Like we said, his love of and care for the community is worn, like his heart, on his sleeve. Sandy Bowman really is a gentle gentleman, a credit to the community and a committed sportsman.

Still. Butterbean.