National | Sports

Native Sun News: Assiniboine Sioux man stars in 'Fight Master'

The following story was written and reported by David Michaud, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.

Tim Welch

Tim Welch: Fighting to be the Fight Master
By David Michaud
Native Sun News Correspondent

While he may be a star of the inaugural season of the Bellator MMA reality show Fight Master, Tim Welch will never forget where he comes from.

Welch is an Assiniboine Sioux who is an enrolled member of the tribe that hails from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. While he is enrolled at Fort Peck he says that his family on his father’s side is from the Wolf Point Reservation, where many still live to this day.

Growing up as a wrestler in Montana it should come as no surprise to anyone that Welch decided to try his hand in MMA, starting like many others in the amateur ranks and working his way up.

“I thought I’d try it and did it for fun in college then found out you could be a professional so I had 10 amateur fights then my coach turned me pro at 19 and I made $1,000 and I couldn’t believe it,” said Welch.

After that first fight, and after seeing that he could start making some money just by beating people up, Welch decided to take a different path in life.

“I stopped going to college,” said Welch, “and started fighting full-time and I’ve loved it and enjoyed every second.”

That choice appears to have been the correct one, as he has amassed a 9-4 record in his career. With that record he was lucky enough to be picked to appear on the Fight Master show, which debuted June 19. His fight was the first fight of the season and he made the most of his opportunity, finishing his opponent Chip Moraza-Pollard by TKO in 1:27 of the first round.

Being the first fighter on the show, and the first to pick a coach, Welch definitely went out and made a name for himself. That first fight was an experience all its own also.

“I was so nervous that first fight, we didn’t know who we were fighting, what style they had, or anything. But as soon as I got in there the nerves went away,” said Welch. “I was well prepared and I train with some of the best guys in the world every day so I was ready to go.”

And ready he was. After the first minute where Moraza-Pollard used his movement to avoid Welch’s strikes once he was able to put his hands on him the fight was over in an instant, drawing raves from the coaches for his finishing ability.

After the fight Welch was allowed to pick out who he wanted to coach him out of Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Joe Warren and Greg Jackson. After the coaches all made their pitches to Welch, and offered compliments a plenty for his performance. Welch eventually chose Greg Jackson, current coach of UFC Champion Jon Jones along with countless other high level fighters.

Since he chose Greg Jackson, Welch had the opportunity to be coached by one of the best coaches in the world while he was on the show. Even though he was given a taste of the big time he does not forget where he comes from.

“My Native heritage still affects me. I’m so proud to be Native American and I know that is one of the main reasons I’m tough and have as much heart as I do,” said Welch.

While the show is currently done filming Welch has moved to Phoenix and is currently training with UFC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson and a fellow member of Fight Master Joe Riggs, in hopes of pushing his fighting skill to new heights.

“I love it here, everyone on the team is so close and good friends,” said Welch. “John Crouch is a great coach and will take me to a new level and Ben and Joe are great mentors for me.”

To see how Welch performed this season follow him on Fight Master on Spike every Wednesday night. If his first fight is any indication he will be going very far on the reality show.

(Contact David Michaud at

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

Join the Conversation