Being Mormon and an MMA fighter

Being a Mormon in MMA is a funny thing. I am in a world of constant misconceptions from both members of the church and my fellow mixed martial artists. The misconceptions from MMA fighters are usually the normal Mormon stereotypes:

  • How many wives? And how many kids? 1 wife, she is fantastic and 2 kids with hopes of one more maybe 2.uved4xv0vw63q1vzl9yx.jpeg
  • Why do you worship a guy named Joe Smith? We don’t we worship God and Jesus Christ
  • Are you in a cult? No
  • Did you ride bikes and knock on doors for 2 years? You bet, I served a mission in Western New York

65977_10150284250605346_7333124_n.jpgFrom members of the church the questions are more like the following. How can I be Mormon and be ok with causing harm to a fellow child of God? How can you live the gospel when everyday I am training to take another man’s consciousness? How can you be active when you surround yourself with roughnecks who relish in violence?

The question I never get but wish I would is why I fight? I get asked many times why followed by some statement with a hint of disgust but never just simply asking why I fight?


Simply put I love it. Every aspect of mixed martial arts I love. I enjoy the strategy, the adrenaline, the competition and I love the emotions that come from winning and losing. The pain from hard fought rounds where the next several days it hurts to sneeze let alone laugh. Last the thing that I love about MMA is the relationships I have formed with so many people who are WAY different than I am. It is crazy that trying to hurt someone creates a relationship that is deeper than most.


Yes I am a little bit crazy (but so is anyone who has a big dream)  and yes I don’t mind the violence. Yes I am rough around the edges especially with my language. However, my heart is in the right place and MMA has helped me be more disciplined in staying on the straight and narrow.

As a Latter Day Saint, “we hope to be able to endure all things…if there is anything of good report or praiseworthy we seek after these things .” I am seeking after something I have defined as praiseworthy I am on a quest to show that you can be a great person and great fighter. My hope is through my journey I can be a light and example to others.   

I like to look to Jesus Christ as the ultimate example. When he preached the gospel he did not care about people’s’ background. Christ loved everyone no matter what they did.  What a great opportunity I have to follow in the footsteps of Christ and surround myself with my brethren of different faith than mine and be a light and example of my faith. We believe “to be in the world but not of the world” and that is exactly what I get to do in MMA.

There have been many great Followers of Christ who have been on similar journeys and been able to help countless people. My hope is that during my journey in mixed martial arts the Lord can call me to the same.

That is why I fight.

The Greatest Sport

cover2I love God, my wife, my kids and family and mixed martial arts in that order. However, before my wife and kids it was just God and MMA. Mixed martial arts was my first love in life. I have been obsessed with the sport before it was a cool thing. I have always wanted to be a fighter.  

Mixed martial arts is the greatest sport on the planet. MMA is a physical, mental and emotional test between two competitors to see who is superior. MMA requires strategy and has so many variables at any given time you could win or lose a fight even to a lesser fighter. Anything can happen in a fight and at her core MMA is pure (I will refer to MMA as a girl to personify it because that is what good writers to in order to drive a point across). She is not just some sport, She is an art where two people can perform. We are locked in a cage but that cage is where we can experience what it means to be free. She is more than an art she is a lifestyle.  


Just got the KO (I had appendicitis during this fight)

She takes broken people and makes them whole. I have seen her take shy people and make them out going. The bullied and beaten into the strong and the protectors. I have seen her take people with body issues and transform them, gave the unconfident confidence.  She is the great equalizer. It does not matter what your background is. She does not care how much money you have or who your parents are. She does not care what your socioeconomic status, genetics, nationality or ethnicity is. The language you speak or the country you were born in does not matter. None of this matters in MMA. The only thing that matters is what you put in and how bad you want it. Even the reason you fight in the grand scheme does not matter. If you fight to be famous she can provide the platform. You fight to prove others wrong she will help you. If you fight just to improve your life she will do that.  


My Utah MMA Team

She can take complete strangers and turn them into family. Provides the the broken with a support system to accomplish great things and become excellent. She creates a brotherhood that few ever understand. These people all come from different walks of life but like I stated previously none of that matters. You do not have to speak the same language as those you share the cage with she transcends language, culture and society. Her language is universal, her culture includes all. You do not have to like all other fighters but she makes us respect each other.

She can provided the highest of highs but with that can come the lowest of lows. MMA is a temptress and can and will tear you down. If you do not show her respect she will leave you in pieces.  She will tear you down leaving you physically, emotionally, mentally and financially broken. After every loss and shortcoming whether in the gym or actual competition tears you down stripping you to the core. You come to her thinking you are great and leaving realizing you are nothing.


My Pro Debut at 135lbs (TKO 1st rd)

However, with the lows come the highs. Just as the refiner puts precious metals in the fire over and over again to burn out impurities so does MMA. The process can be long and painful. It wears on both body and soul. The process is tried and true and as long as you realize she is breaking you down to build you up properly that is when progress starts.  There is nothing greater when you see the improvement. You get faster, stronger and more efficient. She builds you not only into a fighter and competitor but a student and an artist. When you win there is no greater feeling. It is pure elation. The process never stops but the more you stay with her the more rewarding it becomes.


The Walk out to my most recent fight

Whether you become a world champion and compete at the highest levels or you just fight once or twice she sets you up to do whatever you want to do in life. She lays the foundation for success, puts you on the path towards excellence.  All you have to do is listen. Listen to the lessons learned in the cage.