ATLANTIC CITY - Millville native Bobby Fabrizi was upset and angry Saturday night.
The lightweight prospect had just suffered his first loss as a professional mixed martial arts 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. "He's a very good buddy of mine."
Trout, 21, and Fabrizi, 23, grew up together in Millville. They played baseball in Little League and Babe Ruth programs and 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, was a second-team Press All-Star as a utility player.
"We've probably been friends since we were 6 or 7 years old," Fabrizi said.
Fabrizi showed his support for Trout last summer, joining former Thunderbolts teammates Efren Fernandez and brothers Jon and Dan McMahon, plus a couple of other buddies in spending 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 of the CAL. 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)," Trout said. "It was pretty neat."
Fabrizi, who also wrestled for Millville High, began training in MMA soon after graduating in 2008, taking the advice of trainer Carlos Nieves, who had been his midget wrestling coach in Millville.
Fabrizi, who also works as a mason, made his debut as an amateur in 2009 and posted a 6-0 record. His last win as an amateur was a split decision over Gordon.
Saturday's rematch was close for the first round, but Gordon provided a sudden and shocking end by landing an overhand right to Fabrizi's jaw that him to the canvas. Gordon (2-0) jumped on him and knocked out Fabrizi's mouthpiece with another punch that caused referee Kevin Mulhall to stop the fight.
"That's what happens when you drop your hands, even for a second," Fabrizi said. "He was throwing nothing but haymakers the whole time. He was doing nothing but looking for a knockout.
"But I made the mistake of dropping my hands and I paid for it."
Watching Fabrizi fight was part of a busy offseason for Trout, who besides winning the Rookie of the Year award also finished second to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera in the race for A.L. Most Valuable Player.
An avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, he attended a few games at Lincoln Financial Field and was even shown on the Linc's giant video screen during the Eagles' home finale against Washington on Dec. 23. Between workouts, golf and fishing trips, he also signed a promotional contract with Subway and was part of a Super Bowl commercial that was televised Sunday.
Trout, who still lives with his parents, Jeff and Debbie, in Millville during the offseason, will leave on Feb. 12 for Angels spring training in Tempe, Arizona.
"It was tough to see Bobby lose like that, but he'll be OK," Trout said. "You can't win them all. He will learn from this and come back strong."
Punchlines: Fabrizi was among three local fighters who lost at CFFC 19. Galloway Township lightweight Mtume Goodrum (0-4) lost a second-round TKO defeat to Sidney Outlaw (1-0), of Philadelphia. Buena Vista Township middleweight Mike Wilcox (2-2) lost by submission (triangle choke) in the second round to Dervin Lopez (2-0), of Tampa, Fla.
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