Kremmling fighter goes pro |

Kremmling fighter goes pro

Tonya Bina
In his first professional MMA fight, Cody Mumma takes on Jeremy Osheim February 24, 2012 at the Fight to Win Mardi Gras Brawl in Denver. Paul Kincaid/SANskrit Photography

Shoulder-length curly locks, a tribal tattoo coiling his left leg, abdominals defined and engaged – Cody Mumma stands warrior-like, ready to take on his opponent minutes prior to the fight.

His only protective gear is a set of red and white 4-ounce gloves.

It’s the start of the first professional mixed martial arts fight of his career. Months of training have prepared this Kremmling alumnus for the battle, but in the end, the victory would go to his opponent 6-foot, 5-inch Jeremy Osheim of Durango.

But Mumma, 28, at 6-foot tall, fought hard. In the first round of the Mardi Gras Brawl on Feb. 24 at the National Western Complex in Denver, Osheim had a point deducted for throwing an illegal elbow to the back of Mumma’s head. Mumma won the round. In the second round, the physical advantage swung between the two contestants. By the end of the third round, “he got my back and the referee stopped it half-way through because I wasn’t defending myself,” Mumma said.

Mumma lost due to a technical knock-out. He would learn from it.

He would adjust his game plan for next time.

“I need to listen to my instincts more,” he said, after taking a week off of training. “I think I could have stayed standing with him and kickboxed with him. Instead, I used a lot of energy trying to take him down.”

The fighter would be back at the gym on Monday. His next professional fight in the cage just two months away.

Aiming to make it a career

Mumma’s background as a competitive wrestler bodes well for him in the sport of mixed martial arts. He is accustomed to the hard-core training regimen it takes to succeed.

The 2002 West Grand High School graduate placed second in the 189-pound weight class at the state finals his senior year. He then went on to wrestle for Western State College in Gunnison, where during his five years on the mat (he red-shirted, or sat out of competition, one of the years), he became a national qualifier. In 2006, Mumma made the top 12 in the nation in his 197-pound weight class.

Post-college, Mumma returned to Kremmling and worked in construction, but during that three-year period, he commuted to Denver after work nearly every day to train in the city’s gyms. In December 2010, he moved to Denver to focus on his cage-fighting career and entered five amateur fights throughout the year during 2011, winning four of them.

His rigorous training six-days-a-week outside of his construction work now involves perfecting kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling and sparring. Stamina is essential for a fight’s three rounds lasting 5 minutes apiece.

To Mumma, cage fighting can be considered a “kinesthetic art” that draws from many different disciplines. “Refining it is really rewarding,” he said.

“I really want it to turn into a career and be full-time,” Mumma said. “If it lasts 10 or 12 years, that would be awesome.”

In his pro debut in the light heavy weight division at 205 pounds, Mumma was paid $500. And if he had won, he would have been awarded $500 more.

“It goes up from there,” he said.

Fighters are paid more as they improve their records.

During a fight, there are limited rules, such as no eye-gouging, no knees to the head when on the ground, no pulling of hair, and no groin shots.

But submissions, chokes, joint manipulations, take-downs and slams are all par for the course. Fighters don’t wear helmets.

“A lot of people say it’s safer than boxing,” Mumma said.

A cage fight is not limited to the constant pummeling of punches, and when it appears a fighter is knocked out, there is no 10-count chance to get back up as there is in boxing. The fight is declared over.

“The way opponents are matched up can totally differ from one guy to the next,” said Mumma, who mentioned he has never been in a fight outside the cage.

When he enters the cage each time, his emotions are excitement mixed with a strain of nerves, he said. Prior to a fight, with an eight-week training regimen, there is so much build-up – “so it’s great when it’s finally here.”

His mother Linda Hill, previously of Kremmling but who now lives in Olathe, usually is among those in the crowd cheering him on.

“She takes it harder than I do,” Mumma said. “I think the fights are a lot harder on her than me.”

And Kremmling supporters are consistent at Mumma’s matches, which usually take place at Denver’s First Bank Center, the Denver Coliseum and the National Western Complex.

“I get a good crowd from Kremmling, about 100 to 150 people,” Mumma said. “I have one of the bigger crowds down here. I think it’s a lot to be said for our small community because of that.”

Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603

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