UFC fighter and Cleveland native Stipe Miocic a big Tribe fan, preparing for May 31 match with Junior Dos Santos

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Eastlake native and fast-rising UFC fighter Stipe (pronounced STEE pay) Miocic was on hand before Friday night’s game at Progressive Field, shooting a preview piece for SportsTime Ohio for his upcoming fight in Brazil on May 31.

Miocic, a 31-year-old Cleveland State grad in Communications and Marketing, is training in Euclid for the fight against Junior Dos Santos, who is the No. 1 contender for the UFC Heavyweight crown. The piece will air before the fight on May 31 and offer a glimpse at Miocic’s life in his hometown.

Progressive Field held special meaning for Miocic, who in addition to being a former nationally-ranked wrestler at CSU, played third base for the Vikings’ baseball team. He chatted with Tribe players including Yan Gomes, Josh Outman, Justin Masterson, David Murphy, Michael Bourn and more on the field during batting practice.

“I love baseball and love the Indians and all the teams here. I tried to play baseball (after CSU), but it wasn’t in the cards,” Miocic said.

When not fighting, Miocic works as a Parma paramedic and is 11-1 in mixed-martial arts fights, and 5-1 in UFC. Dos Santos, meanwhile, is 16-3 overall and 10-2 in UFC bouts. The pair has 19 knockouts between them. Dos Santos is a former heavyweight champion, having beaten Cain Velasquez in October. Velasquez then beat Dos Santos in two subsequent fights.

Miocic said he’s proud to represent Cleveland on a national scale.

“I love this city,” he said. “There’s Cleveland pride in it for me. Everyone has each other’s backs here.”

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond

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