BYU alum fights for faith

BYU alum Westin Wilson, left, earns a victory in his Bellator debut. Wilson uses his MMA career to spread the gospel. (Westin Wilson)

Injuries aren’t fun, especially when you’re a professional fighter. BYU alum and professional MMA fighter Westin Wilson can tell you all about that.

Just weeks prior to his appearance at a major MMA event last November, Wilson tore a ligament in his wrist, forcing him out of the event. The event, featuring the third fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, would have presented the perfect opportunity for the featherweight fighter to significantly build his reputation and improve his fighting resume.

“That was probably going to be one of the bigger fights I’ve ever had,” Wilson said. “It was at The Forum (in Inglewood, California), headlined by two legends of the sport.”

This isn’t the first time Wilson has dealt with injury or illness in his career. He also fought a devastating knee injury and appendicitis. He presses through his injuries so he can continue fighting and represent his faith. 

Despite missing the November event, Wilson remains positive about the future. He said missing the event was not ideal, but his career trajectory remains relatively unchanged.

“Everything happens for a reason and it wasn’t meant to be,” Wilson said. “So you can’t just dwell on it and think about, ‘What if?’”

It’s with that attitude that Wilson has embraced another opportunity to fight again in late February, headlining an event by Fight Club OC in California where he lives. His appearance will mark his 10th professional MMA fight.

But Wilson doesn’t have to fight. He isn’t looking for fame. He isn’t looking for wealth, either — he said he lives comfortably working full-time managing finances for a software company. Wilson said it’s all about his faith.

“I want to be the Steve Young of MMA,” Wilson said. “I’ve gotten to do some really cool things in the sport but I really just want to be an example of the Church.”

As a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Wilson said he feels it is his duty to use his talents as a fighter to share the gospel.

Westin Wilson poses for a picture with his wife and daughters. Westin is preparing for an upcoming fight in February. (Westin Wilson)

Wilson’s father, Kevin Wilson, said Westin Wilson’s missionary spirit has always been one of Westin’s most admirable traits.

“The thing that I’m impressed with is he lets everybody know that he’s a member of the Church,” Kevin Wilson said. “He uses it as an opportunity to do missionary work.”

Recently, Wilson has been training with elite names in the sport like Stephen Thompson and Kelvin Gastelum, both of whom have defeated world championship level fighters.

Wilson’s manager Jason House said he has high hopes in anticipation of February’s fight.

“Westin’s looking great in the gym,” House said. “He never cheats the process and that’s why I think he’s been so successful in his life.”

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