Southern Utah University student Asia Negron is “itching” for a fight, but the senior biology major will have to wait before she gets her chance to step back into the octagon.
Negron, who is an amateur mixed martial arts competitor, announced on Nov. 12 that her upcoming fight in the Fierce Fighting Championship’s Will Power event was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
The event, which was slated to take place in West Valley City’s Maverik Center on Nov. 14, was set to feature 17 fights before the cancellation. As a pro MMA event, the fight card listed four amatuer fights and 13 professional match-ups including a featured title fight.
The Maverick Center-hosted event would have been Negron’s sixth career fight. She was looking to even out her two-to-three win-loss ratio against her competitor, Camee Adams, who claims a three-to-two record of her own.
COVID-19 precautions were part of the planning process for the fights with seating limitations, sanitization stations and required facial coverings and social distancing measures put into place.
Despite these measures, Negron announced via a video posted November 12 to her Facebook and Instagram that the fight had been canceled. Her announcement indicated the cause of the cancelation to be a “surge in Covid cases [in northern Utah].”
“They are trying to reschedule it for January 16,” Negron said in the post. She remained optimistic saying that the postponement would give her more time to prepare and that she was excited to “pig out” due to no longer needing to make weight.
Negron said she began “dabbling in MMA” when she started at SUU in fall 2016. “I couldn’t do it very often,” she said, “because my work schedule conflicted with the gym sessions.”
A conflicting schedule was not enough to keep a determined Negron from trying the MMA style fighting she watched in televised Ultimate Fighting Championship events; a desire she remembers telling her stepdad about years ago.
Hailing from the small town of Kingston located in Utah’s Piute County, Negron’s accessibility to MMA gyms or trainers was very limited, if not non-existent. Instead, the athlete utilized her abilities to compete on the high school’s basketball, softball and volleyball teams.
Upon graduating with her class of merely 15, she moved to Cedar City to attend SUU.
“When I moved to Cedar,” Negron said, “there was a MMA club at SUU and a MMA gym, so I jumped on it.”
Negron recalls falling in love with the sport from the very first day. She felt at home and originally planned to train very little just to have fun, but her coach’s words convinced her otherwise.
“When my coach said I had potential to be a fighter,” Negron related, “I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.”
Negron’s first official fight took place June 3, 2017. She entered the fight a newcomer and left a winner after doctor stoppage solidified her victory in the first round.
The very next day Negron put her fighting career on hold to serve an 18 month mission in Washington D.C. for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She returned in December of 2018 and was back in the ring just three months later to claim her second victory.
These early victories Negron credits to hard work and the help of her coaches and partners.
“It may be one-on-one when I’m in the cage,” said Negron, “but there’s a whole team of people who helped me to work harder and be better every day.”
Negron has since faced a run of tough luck with the absence of a victory in her last three fights, but she is ready to change that, saying that she has been “itching” for a fight since the cancelation of her last scheduled event for similar COVID-19 concerns back in May.
While Negron waits for her next chance at a fight she remains optimistic and committed to the sport. She says, “[MMA] is a passion of mine that I want to be involved with for the rest of my life.”
“Any fighter will tell you that this sport is addicting,” Negron concluded. “Look at all of those who try to retire, but end up coming back one way or another.”
Story by: Mikyla Bagley
Photos Courtesy of Erin and Benjamin Marsteller/Empire MMA and Fitness