Combat USA: Highlighting champions, like Caleb Nelson

Story & Photos by Kimberlie Acosta
News From Indian Country August 2010

As MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting continues to grow across the county, Combat USA’s founder Adam Sandoval is turning his vision of the future of MMA into reality.  With the vision of bringing MMA back to its roots, Combat USA is enabling you to support local champions in your community.

Part of that begins in Wisconsin, where Combat USA is currently finishing up it’s ‘Best 8 In The State’ tournament. Fighters from all over Wisconsin have been competing in all weight divisions throughout the summer with the finals happening September 11th at the Oneida Bingo and Casino in Green Bay.

“The sport is growing and FAST. But yet we are no where near the CAP of what it has to offer. Kids are training at age 8 and 9. Check out "future of mma" on youtube. This sport is going to be HUGE for years to come. And I thank Oneida for having the foresight to see the opportunity. By making it a rostered season. It gives the fans something to follow and Oneida saw that. I had been working with them for 4 years before we did this venture together and I have to say they TRULY helped raise the bar for MMA in the state.” said Adam Sandoval.

As the excitement for MMA continues, so does Sandoval’s vision to expand Combat USA’s championship bouts to all 50 states.

“We are looking to expand to many other states and create the "NCAA" of MMA if you will. A full season where fighters compete in there state. Then the state winners fight each other for Regionals then Nationals. These are great events for many casinos as they do not have the seating for the 20,000-30,000 people UFC would bring but they have the perfect 1000-7000 for doing events like this. The whole time giving back to their states athletes.” said Sandoval.

MMA fighter, Caleb Nelson (Fond Du Lac Ojibwe), is just one of the fighters who will be fighting in the finals on September 11th. Fighting in the 205 weight division, Caleb began his career four years ago and currently holds a professional record of 9-2.

Nelson is not only a champion in the cage, he is also a champion in his community. Recently, Nelson opened a gym on Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. With the donation from the LCO Tribe, of space in what was the old Boys and Girls Club on the reservation, Nelson brought in his own equipment, boxing ring and cage and with the help of other local MMA fighters, has begun to help train any local youth who are willing to learn the art of MMA.

As Combat USA’s website says, “No more is MMA fighting dominated by a few media-hyped superstars.”  Right in your own back yard there are champions like Caleb Nelson, who is not only an MMA fighter, but also a family man, businessman and friend to many.

With the future looking bright for MMA fighting many casinos across the country are jumping on board to support this fast growing sport, by holding competitions. While those in the field of MMA are grateful for the opportunities to bring MMA to their local communities and highlighting their local fighters.

“We never could have done it without the people of Oneida looking to the future. I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Oneida for being a leader in MMA.” -Adam Sandavol, Combat USA

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