The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.
Nikki Lowe was victorious in her final amateur fight during the King of the Cage event held at the Ute Mountain Casino. Courtesy/Terrence Largo Terrography
An exception to the rule: Nikki Lowe
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor
ALBUQUERQUE — The world of Mixed Martial Arts at one point in time was considered to be etched in the likeness of male barbaric hedonism.
Those times are long gone and today there are more women participating in the sport all across the country. It is not uncommon for mothers, models, and students to turn to the sport to improve their physical fitness and for some to use the sport as a way to quench a primal thirst for competition. It is however unusual when an individual is a mother, model, student and professional fighter at the same time. Meet Nikki Lowe.
“MMA is an art that is why they call it Mixed Martial Arts because it is about discipline,” said Lowe.
Originally from Ada, Ok, Lowe, an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation with Seminole and Chickasaw lineage as well. She now lives and trains in Albuquerque. The mother of two won her final amateur fight this past weekend at a King of the Cage event at the Ute Mountain Casino in Colorado.
The 110 lb. product of FitNHB in Albuquerque is expected to fight professionally at 105 lbs. The FitNHB gym has produced several big name fighters including former WEC welterweight champion and current UFC contender Carlos Condit, Cody Ox Wheeler, UFC fighter Timmy Means and current Bellator fighter and King of the Cage belt holder Donald Sanchez.
Lowe’s journey in to the world of MMA began when she was invited to partake in a boxing practice on the Navajo Reservation. There she learned the basics of stand-up striking. When she eventually relocated to Albuquerque she took her son to train at a jiu-jitsu school where she was invited to attend herself. After the coach saw the natural talent she possessed in her hands Lowe was asked to come back and train as a fighter. From there Nikki fell in love with the sport and excelled in it.
“The coach who first invited me in told me that I had great hands and the school was focused on Jiu-jitsu so I started grappling and learning,” said Lowe.
For Lowe, fighting has provided her with a sanctuary and an outlet that she has used as a positive driving force in her life. MMA helped the 28 year old deal with the grief she carried over the death of her older brother. She believes that the sport which is gaining momentum across Indian country could be something that Native kids could turn to as an alternative to the negative aspects of reservation life.
“When I first started training the gym helped me to deal with the grief I had from my brother dying,” she said. “Now I think the sport can be something positive for Native youth.”
“When I was on the reservation there was nothing to do but party and use drugs. I am not afraid to admit that because that was how I lived and who I was. If there was something for me to do I may not have done that. I would like to see MMA continue to grow on reservations,” she said. “Eventually I would like to start an organization that could bring gyms to Native youth all over because it is something that they could do that would teach them discipline and give them an alternative to drugs or anything else that is negative on the reservation.”
In addition to being a fighter Nikki is also a fashion model who has appeared in several well-known native fashion campaigns. However Nikki sees herself as a fighter that occasionally models not the other way around.
“Usually I just work with people I haven’t tried to really put myself out there as a model but I have been more focused on being a fighter. I don’t see myself as a model but when people approach me I am always there to help out,” said Lowe.
The visibility that accompanied her popularity as a fighter and her natural beauty as a model has brought about an immense spotlight. Along with the spotlight have come expectations from the Native community for Nikki to fill the position of role model for youth. Nonetheless the fearless fighter does not back down from the added responsibilities of being someone that others can look up to.
“I have never felt pressure to be a role model because that is my main goal no matter what. If you have children you are going to be a role model. It is awesome that people have looked up to me and that the Native nations have embraced me and supported me but I have always tried to be a person that people can look at as a positive person,” said Lowe.
In the fall Nikki plans to continue he career as a fighter but will be returning to college at Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque where she plans to pursue a career as an ultrasound technician.
Currently, like most fighters, Nikki is searching for sponsors. The notion that professional fighters profit significantly from the sport is only applicable to very few. Even in the UFC those fighting on the undercard sometimes only rake in $2,500 a fight. For those looking to help sponsor Nikki she can be reached at her Facebook page or at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at email@example.com)
Copyright permission by Native Sun News
Native Sun News: Nikki Lowe, Muscogee, enters fighting ring
Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
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