^
Keep New Times Free
4
| Sports |

Scottsdale MMA Fighter Terrin Yazzie Takes Pride in Navajo Roots

For many professional mixed martial arts fighters, training, dieting, and preparing to step into the cage with someone who wants to knock or choke them unconscious requires more work ethic and dedication than anything else. For Terrin Yazzie, who has spent a good portion of his life on the Navajo nation in northern Arizona, fighting isn't even as strenuous as a normal summer day during his childhood.

Yazzie, 30, went to school in the Valley but would go back to the Navajo nation to see his extended family for the summers of his youth.

See also: Meet the "Golden Boy" of Asian Combat Sport Muay Thai

"It taught me not to take anything for granted," Yazzie says. "It was simple. We didn't have electricity or running water, so we had to haul our water every day." Yazzie, who cuts about 40 pounds to make the 155-pound limit for his fights, believes the work ethic and discipline instilled in him over the long summers of his childhood has transitioned into his MMA training, but it isn't his only reason for getting into the sport.

"Fighting keeps me away from the junk food and stuff," Yazzie says. "It makes me eat and live healthy, which I wouldn't otherwise do." Aside from the concern of diabetes, a serious health problem on the Navajo nation, Yazzie, a heavy equipment operator for RJL Excavating Inc. in Scottsdale when he's not fighting, has another reason for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, he has a family.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

"My family has always been there for me, I couldn't do all of this without my wife helping and supporting me," Yazzie says. "I wish I could spend more time with them, but our time in the gym is really our family time right now." Not only do Yazzie and his wife, Shanielle, have a 7-year-old daughter named Tatum, but Yazzie also provides a father figure for his 3-year-old niece, Hailey.

For Yazzie, who now trains out of Impact MMA in Scottsdale, family has always been a strong influence on his fighting career. Years ago, Yazzie's uncle opened Damon-Bahe Boxing, the gym where Yazzie initially did his fight training. "I got into fighting because of my family," Yazzie says. "It's in my blood."

For more about Terrin Yazzie, including stats and upcoming fights, see his profiles www.mixedmartialarts.com and www.sherdog.com.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.