Missing the Butte Brawl on Dec. 19 was a tough call for Ariel Beck, but her fans in Southwestern Montana will certainly understand.
Two weeks earlier, the Deer Lodge native and Butte resident will be competing on a much, much bigger stage. Beck will be fighting for a world title.
Beck will fight Andrea “KGB” Lee for the flyweight Legacy World Title Dec. 4 in Bossier, Louisiana.
“I’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime,” Beck said.
A couple of weeks ago, the 5-foot-6, 125-pound Beck signed a multi-fight contract with the Legacy Fighting Championships. The contract guarantees Beck, who works full-time at Highland Veterinary Hospital and part-time as a waitress at the Metals Sports Bar & Grill, three fights.
“The experience and exposure is going to be huge,” Beck said. “It will get my name out there.”
To put in perspective how big the LFC is, Holly Holm, who will fight the great Ronda Rousey next month, was the bantam weight title holder in the organization until last year.
“This is a pretty big deal,” said Brian Deets of Fightforce, which puts on the Butte Brawl. “It’s also a big step up in competition.”
The fight, which is a co-main event on a card that includes a welterweight title fight between Derrick Krantz and Alex Morono, will be aired live in AXS TV. The station is carried by DirecTV and Dish Network, among others.
While the contract could lead to a pay day and potentially the dream of fighting in the UFC, the big money isn’t there yet for Beck.
So, Team Beck could use some help from fans and area business to make sure Beck can afford to have a full corner team with her at the fight. Her No. 1 corner man is her husband, Jesse Newbreast. Beck would also like to be able to bring Deets and her other corner man Cal Clark with her as well.
“It would be nice to have two sets of eyes there,” Beck said.
Beck said she already has great sponsors, but some more definitely wouldn’t hurt.
“I have to thank all my sponsors,” Beck said. “I’ve got a lot of backup.”
Beck, a southpaw, enters the fight as an underdog, even though she and Lee are both 3-1 as professionals.
Like Beck, Lee originally got into the fighting game as a boxer.
“Her background is standing up,” Beck said. “She has a blue belt in (jujitsu), so she’s no slouch on the ground.”
The Fight comes after 5-7, 125-pound Lee opened eyes by submitting Rachael Ostovich with just 2 seconds left in the main event at Invicta FC 14. Lee’s only loss came on a short-notice fight against Roxanne Modafferi in Invicta FC 10.
Lee, 26, is seen as one of the hottest prospects in the flyweight division.
“She’s supposed to be the next coming of MMA,” Beck said. “She’s really tough.”
Beck, who turned pro in May of 2014, has won three straight fights under the FightForce and Dakota FC banners. She has been training in Butte, Bozeman and Anaconda to get ready for the fight.
Beck said she has to get ready to fight five 5-minute rounds. In the past she has fought five 3-minute rounds.
“This is going to be longer than any other fight I’ve had by 10 minutes,” Beck said. “Twenty-five minutes of fighting is so long.”
Along with training with her husband, who is also a fighter, she trains with Deets in Bozeman, Sam Rauch with Grit Training Center in Butte, local judo instructor John Amtmann, Chris Eamon of Goosetown in Anaconda and her pals at the Streets of Butte gym.
“We’re working on everything,” Beck said. “I’ve been working hard to use my left hand to my advantage. I’ve got to do what I can to get ahead of her game.”
That is a packed schedule, especially considering her two jobs. Beck, though, said the time she puts in is worth it and necessary.
“This is definitely the hardest I’ve ever worked for a fight already,” Beck said. “I’ve got to give it my all.”
Beck said she can’t come home with any regrets.
“I can’t miss a practice because I don’t want to lose the fight and think, ‘I should have went to that practice,’” Beck said. “We’ve been going hard, trying to get to two-a-days plus a full-time job. It’s hard, but I can’t miss this opportunity.”