Tyree and Tyrell Fortune will both be on the card at Bellator 193 on Friday. You’ll be forgiven for mixing up who is who.
It’s rare you see siblings in MMA, though it happens on occasion. Shogun and Ninja Rua. Alistair Overeem’s brother Valentijn is also a fighter, Sage Northcutt’s sister Colbey is just starting out her own career. Fedor Emelianenko’s troubled estranged brother Alexander, recently released from prison for rape, just resumed his MMA career. And of course there’s the Shamrock brothers, Frank and Ken, who are brothers by way of adoption.
What’s extremely rare, however, is MMA fighters who are twins. The Nogueira brothers are really the only set of twins in MMA to have hit the highest levels — but Tyree and Tyrell Fortune would no doubt like to change that. Both heavyweights, both with 3-0 records as professionals, and both very early in their MMA careers, the fraternal twins have the potential to be something special for Bellator.
It’s a curious path for siblings to take, and even more interesting is that they’ve been training separately (Tyree has opted to stay in the pair’s hometown of Portland, due to his girlfriend being there). Yet they’re reunited for Bellator 193 on Friday, another addition to the promotion’s deep crop of young talent.
Tyree will be facing Michael “The Brown Tiger” Quintero at the event. Tyrell, meanwhile, meets Joe Hernandez. It’s Tyrell’s fourth fight under the Bellator banner, while Tyree is making his promotional debut.
As kids, however, the pair had different opponents: each other. And they fought “A lot.”
“Since I can remember we was fighting each other” Tyree said as the pair faced the media on Wednesday ahead of Bellator 193. “We weren’t allowed to practice with each other growing up, wrestling, because it would turn into a fight.”
So who got the upper hand? “Come on, it wasn’t him” Tyree responded. “Me, every time” Tyrell quipped.
It doesn’t take long to realize that they have that banter twins often do, finishing each other’s sentences and ribbing each other. If the pair continue to find success in the cage, they could be future stars. Certainly, being twins will draw some curious onlookers.
“It’s nice to be able to have someone that you grew up with there every day” Tyrell said of the experience of sharing the card. Tyree added that “I wanted to go to all three of his first fights, but I didn’t have the finances, and I was training for my own fights coming up at the time.” Being on the same card, that’s not an issue here. And the nerves are at a minimum. “It’s a job, we’re here to do a job” Tyrell said.
As for Tyree, “I don’t break under pressure. I relish it.”
The pair have both wrestled under Chael Sonnen coming up. “We’ve been in the same wrestling club since we were in third grade, with Chael.” Tyree is also a training partner of Sonnen.
Check out the Fortune brothers facing the media above. The pair will appear on the preliminary card of Bellator 193, Friday in Temecula, California.