Former Merritt Centennial Alistair Vaughan won his first ever mixed martial arts fight via choke hold on Saturday when UCL 19 came to Merritt.

The rookie fighter and truck driver at Highland Valley Copper was a late addition to the fight card and took on co-worker Dustin Voght.

Vaughan is a 36-year-old father of three and said he had to be encouraged by his friends to take part in the fights.

“A few of my buddies kind of dared me or coerced me into going in there with a little bit of cash. I think I made about $1,000,” he said, adding about 11 friends from work and around town offered up about $100 each if Vaughan agreed to and won the fight.

“That was the kicker, eh. If I lost, I didn’t see a red cent,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan went into his first fight completely green, having no experience as a fighter before Saturday’s fight.

“I had a few bar fights and I had a few fights on the ice, that’s my background,” Vaughan told the Herald.

He said his hockey fights provided no sort of preparation for his MMA fight.

“Nothing can prepare me for what was in there,” Vaughan said, adding it wasn’t quite what he expected and he signed up for the fight just three weeks before UCL 19.

Vaughan said he was told Voght is more of a submission and ground-game type of fighter, whereas he is used to more of a stand-up style.

“See, I’m more used to stand-up-and-chuck-knuckles, so all this submission and ground-and-pound is new to me,” Vaughan said, noting he was a bit disappointed with the fight because he didn’t get to throw that many punches.

He said after the fight, his friends told him he beat Voght at his own game.

“It took a lot more out of me than I thought it would. Maybe that’s my age, I don’t know,” Vaughan said with a laugh.

Vaughan said he got in about a week of training as he was on vacation with his family and unable to hit the gym.

“I probably had seven days of working out, a little bit of cardio and hitting the [punching] bag, that’s about it.”

Vaughan said he doesn’t usually work out either as he has a fairly busy family.

Vaughan has an 11-year-old son and twin boys.

“My oldest boy was pretty pumped. I had to break it to him [at] the last minute that I wasn’t going to allow him to go, just in case daddy got knocked out or was chewing on his teeth, or something like that,” Vaughan said.

He said his wife was very supportive of his decision to fight.

“We’ve been together for going on 22 years, so she’s a good woman. She supports me in everything that I do and we got a good family because of that too,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan said he’s planning to retire from his fighting career undefeated.

“We’ll see how much the boys kick in for the next one,” Vaughan said, noting he’s fairly sure his MMA days are behind him. “But you never know, you never know.”

Vaughan said it may not have been the most spectacular fight, but it was an experience to check off the bucket list.

“The whole night was awesome,” Vaughan said. “I had a lot of fun and saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while and I had a lot of people who showed up and supported me. It was an experience that I’m not going to forget. All in all, it was something memorable.”