Mean 1 MMA's Martin Manrique Battles Gabriel Lopez for Aragon Fight Promotions Amateur Lightweight Crown
Martin Manrique, the new Assistant Manager and Strength & Conditioning Instructor at Mean1 Rio Rancho, will be facing Las Cruces fighter, Gabriel Lopez (Monsivaiz), for the Aragon Fight Promotions Amateur lightweight title on Saturday, June 2, 2012, in Carlsbad, NM.
The card will feature two professional fights - Mark Martinez vs. Josh Lanier, and Oscar Granado vs. Tyrone Wright – as well as 13 amateur bouts, including Manrique-Aguirre and the other amateur title fight for the night, Scott Nyrkkamen vs. Jorrell Sparenburg for the bantamweight AFP title.
Manrique is a New Mexico implant, having moved here in 2000, when his father, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, open his practice in Alamogordo. Martin graduated from high school there, and he went on to pursue his Bachelor of Science Degree in Math at ENMU in Portales, NM.
While he attended school there, he was on the soccer team for about a year, until he suffered an injury which took him off the team. He then took on the position of Strength & Conditioning Liaison for the Athletic Department, but he became somewhat depressed, from not being able to compete, until a friend and classmate, Gilbert Valdez, invited him to come to a wrestling club, Greyhound Wrestling Club, which met at 5:30am every day, and sometimes also in the evenings.
He attended faithfully, and soon, the club included another friend, who had some experience with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Ben Ward. The organization continued to grow and change, and soon the meetings began to include striking, much of that from the martial arts taught to Manrique by his father, and the group became known as Greyhound MMA. Manrique became one of the teachers, and in 2008, had his first amateur MMA fight, which he won. Since that time, all of his students have themselves become teachers, and the organization is going strong today.
Almost two years ago, Manrique moved to Albuquerque, on a whim, when the slight offerings in the job market forced him to look elsewhere for work. He began to attend and teach at LA Boxing, with his friend and fellow instructor, Logan Sims. Sims, upon hearing that Manrique was interested in continuing his fight career and was currently training for a fight, urged him to check out Mean 1 MMA.
Manrique decided to try it out; that first class he felt that he performed well against the other students. However, when the teacher, Coach Chris Avila, saw that he was doing well, he invited him to roll with himself. After 15-minutes of being dominated by the experienced teacher, Manrique knew he had found a place he could train and grow in the sport.
Avila introduced him to Coach Chris Luttrell, "the missing link in all of my MMA training," who felt that Manrique was a good fit for the Mean1 coaching team, and he was hired primarily for strength & conditioning, but was also found to be a good auxiliary instructor for beginning BJJ, wrestling and MMA; "I knew enough to teach the basics, but I know a lot more now about the Mean 1MMA belt system."
He was even voted one of the top five trainers in Albuquerque last year, for Albuquerque the Magazine. He had his first fight for Mean1 MMA at Evolution Combat Sports Championships: Friday Night Fights 1, and went on to win his next 3 fights, earning his current 4-0 amateur MMA record. When asked why he fights, he replied "I fight because it challenges me. I fight because it motivates me to improve every day. I fight because it is difficult. I fight because I want to win and I can't accept ever giving up."
This camp for Manrique has been somewhat of a rocky road, with three different opponents during the last couple weeks. However, the card is complete, and the contracts signed, and he is looking forward to facing Gabriel Lopez, who previously faced Manrique's teammate at Mean1, Javier Palacios, for a close split decision. Joining him on the card will be his teammates, Steve Garcia and Falon Ring.
For more information on this upcoming promotion, visit www.aragonfightpromotions.com.
photo by Will Fox