MMA Club looks to tap out the competition this season


Vinh Nguyen, management sophomore, left, goes over technique and hand placement with Robert Mipro, right, biology science freshman, during mixed martial arts club practice. The club is placing more emphasis on technique in its training as they approach the American Grappling Federation tournament in New Orleans on March 12. Photo credit: Zach Brien

Nicholas Ducote

Self-improvement is a mentality the Loyola Mixed Martial Arts Club is sticking to this season.

The club is now entering into a bigger and more in-depth association, the American Grappling Federation. The club has gradually grown over the past semesters and now is in the hands of Vinh Nguyen, business management sophomore.

Nguyen and the club have also been patient in past practices, but this year they’ve become more intense with their training regimen.

“You should be more scared of a person who practices one punch a thousand times than a person who practices a thousand punches one time. So right now everyone in the club picks one submission or move and they perfect it,” Nguyen said.

The club is now practicing three days a week with practices going from two to three hours long with small breaks here and there. They are focused on staying in shape and developing technique.

Winning a fight for them is no longer coming down to an opponent’s strength or their stamina; it is about being mentally tough and prepared for whatever or whoever is across the mat.

Last semester, the club participated in an amateur tournament and placed in the top weight classes, including winning silver and
bronze medals.

Fighters such as Adrian Jordan, digital film junior, got a taste of MMA in their last tournament and was left wanting more. Jordan and the club fought against opponents in their weight classes and their fights didn’t come down to who was more in shape, but who wanted to win more.

“Technique is something we’re focusing on but we don’t want to rely on out-strengthening our opponent. You’re not always going to be fighting someone bigger or smaller than you,” Jordan said. “We definitely want to keep the intensity. We want to be prepared for anything.”

Right now the members of the MMA are sparring against each other in practice. Fighting the same opponents every week has become monotonous to some, but they know it’s all for the sake of getting better.

The club has recently set personal goals and workouts for each other. They don’t worry about what the other or how the other fighters are training just so long as they remember the end goal.

Rafael Polanco, English sophomore, said he and the team have definitely “caught the fighting bug,” and are thinking about who is next.

“Winning in last semester’s tournament was great. We were intimidated and we had some butterflies in our stomach, but after your first match you really just want another one,” Polanco said. “We want more and that’s fueling us for our
next tournament.”