History of MMA in United States: New Mexico

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This is the 31st of a 50-part series documenting the history and the current state of MMA for each of the 50 states in the United States of America. You can find the rest of the series to date here. Each part will chronicle the history of MMA as well as several notable fighters and camps in each state. States will be completed in alphabetical order. This is the history of New Mexico MMA Be sure to check out the previous part; New Jersey.

History of New Mexico MMA

New Mexico, the 47th state to join the Union, has hosted a handful of major organizational events but is mostly known for being the home of Jackson Wink MMA. Compared to most states, New Mexico has had a rather quiet existence in the world of MMA.

New Mexico Athletic Commission

Chapter 6 of the New Mexico state law grants the New Mexico Athletic Commission the authority to govern MMA within the state. The commission is made up of four board members with Elias Quintana serving as Commissioner. On July 11, 2017, the NMAC voted to void all previously sanctioned body rules. Later in October 2018, New Mexico is set to allow sports betting in its casinos. The way Native American trade laws are established with New Mexico currently is the tribes, not the state, would receive all profits from sports betting. Lawmakers are hoping to make a change to that to increase the state’s profit margin.

Major Organizations Visit the “Land of Enchantment”

New Mexico has held a few major events, hosting one UFC event and three Bellator cards. The first major organization to visit New Mexico was actually WEC before the company folded. It has been over four years since a major promotion has held an event on New Mexico land.

WEC Makes the Initial Visit

I guess you could consider the UFC striking first in New Mexico. WEC 32: New Mexico was the first event of the WEC under Zuffa ownership. The 4,600 in attendance at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico witnessed two title fights during the night. Champion Carlos Condit held onto his title defeating Carlo Prater by first-round guillotine choke. Miguel Torres claimed the bantamweight title from Chase Beebe by first-round guillotine choke (same as Condit.) Torres was riding a 13 fight win streak into the title fight. He would go on to defend the title three times before dropping the title to Brian Bowles.

UFC Makes Their Lone Appearance

Zuffa made their debut under the UFC banner on June 07, 2014, with UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov. The 8,700 plus fans on hand in Albuquerque witnessed a fourth-round submission finish by Benson Henderson over Rustam Khabilov main event. Fight of the Night honors went to Scott Jorgensen and Danny Martinez which saw Jorgensen win by unanimous decision. Also victorious on the card were Diego Sanchez, Rafael dos Anjos, and Sergio Pettis.

Bellator Makes Their New Mexico Visits

Bellator has made three visits to New Mexico with the first occurring at Bellator 91 which took place on February 28, 2013. The Bellator 91 event marked the first title defense of light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu. M’Pumbu would be dethroned by Attila Vegh by unanimous decision. Saad Awad knocked out Will Brooks in the first round while David Rickels won a unanimous decision over Jason Fischer to round out the main card.

Bellator returned for Bellator 97  in July 2013 and Bellator 105 in October 2013. All three of Bellator’s visits to New Mexico came in 2013. At Bellator 105, Brooks would exact his revenge on Awad by winning the main event by unanimous decision. Currently UFC light heavyweight rising star, Anthony “Lionheart” Smith, also appeared on the 105 card and won by first-round knockout.

Fighters/Camps in New Mexico

Above anything else in New Mexico, the first thing to come to anyone’s mind is Jackson Wink MMA. The famed MMA fight time was founded by Greg Jackson in 2000. Striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn, joined the group in 2007. It was at this time the gym was renamed to his current Jackson Wink MMA. The Albuquerque based camp offers on-site living quarters for out of town fighters as well as offering on-site nutritional plans.

The Fighters of Jackson Wink MMA 

Many of the very best in the world of MMA have passed through the doors of Jackson Wink MMA. Arguably the most talented fighter to ever enter a cage, Jon “Bones” Jones, calls Jackson Wink MMA his home. Jones possesses a professional record of 22-1-1. The loss is criticized by many as it was stopped for illegal elbows to Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweight Finale in December 2009. Since then, the only losses Jones has sustained are due to out of cage incidents.

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, is another of the stars who trained with Jackson Wink MMA. Holm stormed to stardom with her head kick knockout of women’s MMA icon Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015. Since then Holm has bounced back and forth to featherweight. Above all, Holm has all the potential in the world to win UFC gold again.

Many of the best names throughout the history of MMA were inducted into the 2016 Jackson Wink MMA Hall of Fame. Some of those names include Donald Cerrone, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, and Cub Swanson among many, many more.

Part 32 of the series will be the state of New York. Stay tuned to MMASucka for the whole series and all of the breaking news in the world of MMA.

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Matt's love and passion for martial arts began at the age of four with Taekwondo. Matt later trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while serving nearly ten years in law enforcement. Matt has just recently discovered his passion of writing on mixed martial arts.

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