Charles City grad Holly Dight to make her MMA debut
By John Burbridge
As feel-good, underdog sport stories go, you can’t do much better than the sustained prominence of women in mixed martial arts.
While other female-based sports and leagues struggle to attain profitable relevance — i.e. the WNBA where star players are forced to play in hostile nations during the offseason in order to make a decent living — female MMA fighters are becoming household names at the level if not more than their male counterparts.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Dana White took over as president of the UFC, he vowed that he would never sanction women combatants. The only time you would ever see a woman in the octagon, as per White’s wishes, would be as a scantily clad round-card girl.
Which brings us to Holly Dight.
The 2010 Charles City graduate is due to make her MMA debut this Saturday (July 30) at the North Iowa Fights card at the Mason City Arena, 111 S. Washington Ave.
But it won’t be the first time Dight will step into the eight-sided circle.
“I was a card girl for (MMA events) for six years,” Dight said. “I liked doing it … I love the sport.”
Though she didn’t play varsity sports at Charles City, Dight has always been a consummate sportswoman as she is an accomplished equestrian who has been honored with ribbons and awards at county fairs.
A little more than a half a year ago, Dight — who always exercised regularly — decided to up the ante and train to take a more active role in the octagon.
“I started training at Mike Estus’s gym,” Dight said — Estus is the North Iowa Fights promoter. “I train a lot in jiu jitsu and other disciplines. The training has been going well and I’m getting more confident.
“I’m not afraid.”
Dight’s scheduled opponent in her 125-pound flyweight bout is Sami Mae Nabity, who trains with her boyfriend, Traevon Jones, who is also on the card, at Peak Performance out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Nabity is an experienced MMA fighter and Golden Gloves boxer.
Thought the Dight vs. Nabity bout is not the main event, it will likely fill a good portion of the seats at the MCA.
“My mom and dad are going to be there, and so will other family and friends,” said Dight, who lives and works in Mason City. “I’ve gotten a lot of support on Facebook and around 300 confirmations that they’re going to be there.”
Dight is not the only former Charles City student on the fight card.
Dakota Vance, who wrestled for Charles City before transferring to Rockford where he became a podium placer at the State Wrestling Championships, is making his MMA professional debut.
Vance was 5-0 with four one-round stoppage wins as an amatuer MMA fighter.