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Culley wins MMA title
Barstow native takes featherweight crown
COMMERCE • One of Barstow’s own, mixed martial arts fighter Chris Culley, has brought home a title.
On August 9, Culley, nicknamed The Urban Legend, took part in the BAMMA Badbeat 10 event in the city of Commerce. Barstow’s Kahli Fighter MMA sponsored Culley, as he went up against veteran fighter Jesse Newell for the 145-pound featherweight crown.
Culley went into the fight with an 18-10 record, and riding a four-fight winning streak. This bout was set for five rounds, but referee Mike Beltran called a halt to the proceedings at the conclusion of the fourth round. The Urban Legend beat Newell via KO/TKO for the featherweight title.
“Man, that kid was tough as nails,” said Culley after the fight. “I was hurt early in the first round, his knee caught me slipping, but I wear my opponents down to my game.”
On hand to witness the victory was Juan Rivera, owner of Kahli Fighter MMA in Barstow. He was a bit nervous as Culley had a slow start, striking when he could but spending a lot of time defending the take-downs.
“I definitely was nervous early on, Newell was very aggressive with his take-down attempts,” said Rivera. “But by the end of the second round and all through the third and fourth, Chris owned him.”
In his post-fight remarks, Culley, a graduate of Barstow High School, mentioned his hometown, as he often does. It’s one of the reasons his local fans continue to travel to see him compete, as they did for this title bout: The Urban Legend never forgets his roots.
“Chris is someone special in that, there have been many folks from here that made significant achievements, but never acknowledge that they originate from this small town called Barstow,” said Rivera. “He takes every opportunity to remind everyone where he came from, and the community recognizes and appreciates that about him. That’s why they always show such a huge amount of support for him wherever he fights. As far as they’re concerned, when he wins, they win.
“We have a large support system in this town, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be bigger.”
Culley stated after winning the title that of all the fighters competing that day, he had the largest fan base in attendance, and it was due in large part to the Barstow contingent on hand.
Culley, who trained out of Bullet Hole gym in Victorville and Millennia MMA in Rancho Cucamonga, gave thanks to his coaches, trainers and training partners for getting him ready for the fight.
“This was the best training camp I’ve had,” he said. “Just the right balance of training, nutrition and rest.”
Kahli Fighter MMA is located at 613 East Main Street, inside the Barstow Academy of Dance. The Academy also houses the World Boxing Gym of Barstow.