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Mixed martial arts team always recruiting

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 12:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 26, 2013 12:26 p.m. CDT
(Kate Malott/Daily News)
Sam Petty, a member of the Baxter-based Undead MMA Fight Team, practices her high kicks against Josh Garrison during a practice earlier this week. The group has a number of members, some who want to fight competitively and others who are looking for a good cardiovascular workout. Team founder John Williams said there is always room for more to join the group, which meets for two hours each weekday at Baxter School.

“Hit him in the face Sam, hit him in the face,” yelled Sam Petty’s teammates during Wednesday night’s mock sparring battle with fellow fighter David Batt.

By her own admission, Petty doesn’t think she can hurt anybody and enjoy it. However, she seemed to be giving Batt a run for his money.

The blonde, ponytailed warrior cast a mean glare at her opponent as she kept attacking Batt with everything she had.

Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, and in Iowa, that trend isn’t being bucked.

Batt and Petty are members of the Undead MMA Fight Team based out of Baxter. The team was founded by John Williams, who himself competed in the sport back when it was more notorious than glorious in the mid-’90s.

“Originally, I had a son-in-law who got in trouble,” Williams said. “The only way he would stay out of trouble is mixed martial arts. I started training him and found a promoter and went on from there. Then we thought it would be more fun to find more people, train them and make it a pastime. It gives them something to do and keeps them out of trouble, as well.”

Although the team is based out of Williams’ hometown, the team has members from across Iowa and the U.S. Batt is from Melbourne, Petty is from Gladbrook and Williams said he had a fighter in Missouri and few other places around the Midwest.

Williams is also a staunch recruiter. He discovered 6-foot-4-inch 260 pound Josh Garrison at Hometown Foods back in November. He said he also currently has a fighter in Wyoming, completing National Guard duty, who he said has won his first four fights.

“The main reason I’m doing it is to work out,” Garrison said. “It’s something I’ve been interested in; just never knew how to get into it or anything. I agreed that if they get me down to 205, I’ll take a fight. I’ve lost 30 pounds so far. I’ve got a long way to go until 205.”

Petty said Williams recruited her after the kickboxing classes she was taking stopped. Petty stands 6-2 and said she did basketball and softball in high school. She said she has no problem taking on the guys in practice.

“I tapped out Anthony (Floyd),” she said with a smirk. “They are surprised that I can actually out-power them. It took Anthony awhile; I had to keep attacking him before he would fight back.”

Petty said she isn’t the only woman on the team, and has no problems fitting in with the guys.

In addition to his workout warriors, Williams said he has four to five active fighters he manages and encourages all to come join them for their 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday workouts at the Baxter Workout Center located within the school.

You can also like them on Facebook under the name Undead Fight Team or visit their website at www.undeadmma.com. The team also has T-shirts available for $15.

If you are looking to get a great workout or to become the next Anderson Silva or Gina Carano, feel free to join the festivities.

Asked how long she plans to fight, she Perry said, “As long as I can.”

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com

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