Mixed Martial Arts club welcomes all


Sophomore Nora Cullinan, member of Loyola’s MMA club, kicks. Gabriella Killett / The Maroon

William Savoie

Despite keeping a low virtual profile, Loyola’s Mixed Martial Arts club has not only been quietly expanding its small yet dedicated membership, it has been upgrading its training and equipment as well, according to the club’s leader, Junior Nanami Okawauchi.

Okawauchi said MMA club’s lack of online exposure was due to members not being “tech savvy.”

“We have a great group of people, but bringing in someone to help manage our online presence definitely would not hurt at all,” Okawauchi said.

Although Loyola’s MMA club does not update their club website, Okawauchi said they do operate an official Instagram page under the handle @loyolamma. The page contains short highlight videos from MMA club practices.

Such highlights picture the jabbing expertise of sophomore Nora Cullinan, one of MMA Clubs most experienced and skilled members, according to Okawauchi.

“My dad did Taekwondo before me, and I started doing it with him when I was 10 or 11 and have been ever since. It’s a fun way to work out and relieve stress,” Cullinan said.

Cullinan said she’d encourage students wishing to get involved with MMA club to reach out and start coming to practices.

Loyola alumnus and former member of MMA club Gage Thomas seconded Cullinan’s remarks.

“Just come out and see. Everyone’s friendly, and you’ll be learning a valuable skill,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he still finds time to help manage and instruct club meetings on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

“We’re pretty open. Everyone joins at different levels of experience and skill. We compete hard against each other but keep safety a priority,” Thomas said. “We don’t want anyone getting injured.”

The MMA club organized a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament last fall with their counterparts from Tulane University and University of New Orleans, but they have no upcoming competitions.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to schedule another tournament this spring,” Thomas said.

In addition to getting new mouth guards and rash guards for members, MMA club is also planning on bringing in Juan Cardona, a professional from New Orleans Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to coach the club.

Students interested in joining MMA club can reach out via their Instagram page or attend a meeting at Court A in the University Sports Complex, according to Okawauchi. The meetings are Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m.