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Mixed martial artists say training helps them face dangerous situations in real life

Posted at 11:28 AM, Apr 25, 2022

Archie Colgan is an undefeated professional mixed martial artist (MMA).

“From the outside, it's this brutal sport where these two grown men or women go into a cage and beat each other up," Colgan said. "But behind the scenes is a lot of discipline and respect and dedication to what you do and true passion.”

MMA is a sport that takes immense stamina and physical agility.

“You have to know how, obviously, to defend yourself. You have to know how to do this and back out to people too.”

He says those skills can carry over to real-life situations though they're rarely needed.

In March, professional UFC fighter Kevin Holland stopped a gunman who opened fire at a sushi restaurant in Houston.

“I realized that the shooter and another guy are fighting and the guy is trying to grab the gun from him but the guns facing in our direction," Holland said in an interview. "So I circle around the bar, I run over, I go to pick up a chair like I'm going to hit the guy. But as I get over there, you can't really tell who's the shooter and who's the guy wrestling for the gun. You need a closer look. So I take a closer look, I then realized who the shooter, no longer really need the chair, grabbed the gun with the guy”

As a trained fighter, Colgan says it makes sense Holland jumped into action.

“The situations that we're faced in with having to be locked in a cage with another person who wants to fight you, your brain is wired to react a little quicker in scary situations," Colgan said. "I do think, like, an MMA fighter would react better than somebody else who has not been in the situation where there's a real threat.”

That reason is why some police officers choose to get involved in mixed martial arts. Like Brett Titus, a 30-year law enforcement veteran.

“I just retired couple of years ago," Titus said. "Twenty-two of those years I spent on Denver's full-time SWAT team.”

Titus says his MMA training came in handy dozens of times while facing extremely dangerous situations on the job.

“If you're going to train in and get to the level of fighting in MMA, you've got to be in shape," Titus said. "And I think that's one of the biggest things that I see in law enforcement today is guys and gals are not keeping themselves in shape.”

He says the techniques you learn not only make it safer for the officer but also the suspect.

“If you're skilled enough and you have that confidence and you've trained it, you may be able to take that adversary, that suspect in custody without having to go to that lethal force level,” Titus said.

Although Holland isn’t a police officer, Titus says he was proud to see him use his MMA skills for good.

“A guy like that is that skilled felt compelled to do it," Titus said. "Of course, if you're going to get to that level where he's at in the mixed martial arts world, you're a warrior and warriors protect.”

However, Titus says that doesn’t mean anybody should do what he did, especially if lives aren’t at risk.

“It may be best just sometimes to just be a witness," Titus said. "But if it gets to that level of actually saving lives and protecting people and you are that skilled, then in my opinion, yeah, you have to do something.”