BYU alumnus leads second life in MMA ring

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Savannah Hopkinson
Westin Wilson graduated from BYU in 2015 with a degree in public relations. (Savannah Hopinkson)

Westin Wilson graduated from BYU in 2015 and appears to lead a fairly normal life.

The married father of two lives in the Fort Worth, Texas, area and works as a business analyst for a software company during the week. He teaches Gospel Doctrine at church on Sundays.

He also happens to have a mixed martial arts fight coming up on Oct. 6 with the second largest MMA promoter in the world.

Wilson began wrestling during his middle school and high school years, but it wasn’t until his family moved to Brazil that he started to pick up MMA fighting. He started training and fighting during his last few years of high school in South America but took a break while serving a mission in western New York.

Wilson was pleasantly surprised when he began attending BYU that the MMA scene was alive and well here in Utah. He began to train at a gym called “The Pit Elevated” in Orem, but between classes and dating, it became too difficult to keep going.

Things changed after he got married.

“When I got married I was like, I want to give it one more go, (so I) contacted a promotion and they threw me in against this really good amateur kid,” Wilson said. “I beat him, and from there on it just took off.”

Wilson signed with Iridium Sports Agency, and has being competing as the only active Mormon in professional MMA for several years now.

Rob Norbutt
Westin Wilson lands a punch on LJ Schulz in Farmington, Utah. Wilson has his biggest fight yet coming up on Oct. 6. (Rob Norbutt)

“We’re taught at a young age to set goals, to be hardworking, and to just not give up,” Wilson said of how his Mormon upbringing has helped his career.

Wilson’s trainer, Jason Mertlich, said “staying away from the indulgences of the party lifestyle” has also helped the fighter get to where he is today.

Wilson cites his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, Scarlett and Adaline, as his biggest motivation and inspiration for fighting.

“I have tremendous respect for Westin for many reasons,” said Iridium founder Jason House. “If I had to narrow it down to just a few, it would be the love he has for his family, his faith, and his successful career inside and outside of the cage.”

Wilson has lofty goals for his fighting legacy. He mentioned wanting to win a world title and be a Mormon icon in the world of MMA.

“I want to be the Steve Young of MMA, just with less concussions,” Wilson said.

He believes that many lessons he has learned in the ring, such as not giving up and enduring to the end, are applicable to everyday life and the gospel in particular.

Wilson currently publishes a blog at westinwilson.com and plans to eventually write a book about these lessons.

The biggest fight of Wilson’s career is scheduled for Oct. 6 in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

The fight is being put on by the second largest MMA promoter in the world, Bellator, and Wilson’s opponent will be Gaston Reyno, the top fighter in Uruguay.

“I want to put it all out there,” Wilson said. “I want to show the world what I’m capable of, and that I belong with the top guys in the world in my weight class.”

Representing his family well is Wilson’s primary motivation, but he also recognizes that he “[carries] many flags with [him] into the cage.”

“Not only am I bringing myself and my family into the fight, but I’m also representing the Church; I’m representing BYU,” Wilson said.

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