ATLANTIC CITY - Millville native Bobby Fabrizi was upset and angry Saturday night.
The lightweight prospect had just suffered his first loss as a professional fighter after a 2-0 start, enduring a second-round TKO to Jared Gordon, of Astoria, N.Y., during Cage Fury Fighting Championships 19 at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
As he prepared for a mandatory trip to the hospital to get checked out, he was being consoled by his trainers, handlers and a few close friends. One of the first people to hug him in the dressing room behind Borgata's Events Center was Los Angeles Angels outfielder and 2012 American League Rookie of the Year Mike Trout.
"I've known Bobby my whole life," Trout said in the dressing room. "He's a very good buddy of mine."
Trout, 21, and Fabrizi, 23, grew up together in Millville. They played baseball in Millville's Little League and Babe Ruth programs and were teammates at Millville High School.
In the spring of 2008, they helped the Thunderbolts win the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference championship. Trout, who was a junior that year, won the first of his back-to-back Press Player of the Year awards. Fabrizi, a senior, earned a spot on the second team of The Press all-star squad as a utility player.
"We've probably been friends since we were six or seven years old," Fabrizi said.
Fabrizi showed his support for Trout last summer, when he joined former Thunderbolts teammates Efren Fernandez and brothers Jon and Dan McMahon, plus a couple of other buddies, and spent nine days in Los Angeles to see Trout play for the Angels.
Just four years earlier, they were playing on the grass-and-dirt fields in the Cape-Atlantic League. Now they were watching their friend make leaping catches and hit home runs before thousands of fans at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, which features a waterfall behind the fence in left-center field.
"We stayed at his place while were out there and had a lot of fun," Fabrizi said. "It was really cool."
Trout returned the favor by attending Fabrizi's fight on Saturday. Approximately 3,000 fans showed up at Borgata. Like the 50 or so other fans from Millville who were there, Trout came properly dressed for the occasion by donning a black "Team Vendetta, Millville" t-shirt in support of his friend.
"This is my first time (attending an MMA show) and it was pretty neat," Trout said. "It was tough to see Bobby lose, but you can't win them all. He will learn from this and come back strong."