The MMA club is welcome for all


Photo by Alexa Weisbond - Reporter

Coach Chris Ramos is beloved by members of the MMA Club.

Alexa Weisbond, Reporter

The Mixed Martial Arts Club at California Lutheran University is for those seeking to learn self-defense skills to prepare them for unwanted situations. Liban Yakob, club president and senior at Cal Lutheran, wants students to know the club is a safe space and that no one has to do anything they are not comfortable with.

“We are here to learn self-defense. We are not here to harm anyone. We are here to learn what to do in case we are ever in a situation that we don’t want to be in, and, unfortunately, that happens to people every day,” Yakob said. 

The MMA Club is still relatively new, with about 10 to 15 active members who meet every Wednesday from 7:30-8:30 p.m. 

Mary Lanzner, a first-year student, said the importance of being part of the club and how she uses it to release stress during the hectic weeks of the semester.

“I am really happy that I am in the club because I get to learn how to defend myself, especially as a female, so it’s just really good for me to learn…especially out in the world,” Lanzner said.

Yakob emphasized the value of possessing self-defense skills, particularly as a female. 

“After two years of being in this club, I can pretty much handle myself…I’m not really scared to be alone, especially at night,” Yakob said. 

Behind these skills is Coach Chris Ramos, who currently runs the MMA club meetings and gives advice to newcomers who may feel intimidated or hesitant to join. 

“This club is perfect and is pretty much catered for beginners. I think 95% of the class is all beginners, so we go through a lot of the basics. It is really welcoming and pretty simplified,” Ramos said.

Earl Burns-Lopez, a senior at Cal Lutheran who decided to join the MMA club during his junior year, reiterates the welcoming nature of the club. 

“We always encourage everybody to come, even if they don’t know or don’t have any experience…it’s good for both ways; if you don’t have experience, that’s good…you do have experience, that’s good too,” Lopez said.

Coach Ramos, who typically splits meetings between striking and grappling, describes his experience being a coach and how gratifying it is seeing all kinds of members, past and present.  

“It’s been awesome, I love seeing people come in and take a passion and interest in it. I see some of the alumni return as often as they can, they can’t get enough of it. I love seeing beginners come in and once they start getting the hang of the techniques, how happy and proud they become. It is pretty rewarding to see that,” Ramos said. 

Lanzner said the club provides a good workout when there is little time to go to the gym and Lopez added that the club is also an occasion to get to know other people.  

“Obviously you get a good decent workout, you can sweat, you actually meet some good people…The coach, Chris, is a great guy, everyone likes talking to him. Everyone just actually starts to get to know each other, and you actually get to make some new friends…it’s always good to have self-defense in your arsenal,” Lopez said.

Coach Ramos said the sport has been growing in popularity and has helped break stereotypes regarding the sport.

“It is becoming more mainstream… just maybe four or five years ago the UFC, the main professional MMA league, was probably maybe about as popular as soccer in the U.S.…and again, people realize it’s not just a gritty sport,” Ramos said.

The key takeaway from the MMA club, according to Yakob, is preparation. 

“This is to give us power and to make sure that we’re prepared for anything. It is better to be prepared in life than not be prepared,” Yakob said.