Butte’s fighting couple on display at Butte Brawl

Jesse Newbreast and Ariel Beck will likely never need a marriage counselor.

That’s because the newlyweds can simply take any frustrations they might have out on each other MMA style.

“It’s domestic every day,” Beck says with a laugh. “We have that outlet to go to.”

Both halves of the Butte couple are professional fighters. Newbreast is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, while Beck is a pro boxer and an amateur mixed martial artist.

Beck, a Deer Lodge native who became widely popular in her short time in the boxing ring, and Newbreast, a fan favorite when Fightforce brings the show to town, were married this past May.

Friday night, both fighters will be on display at the Butte Brawl at the Civic Center. (Fight card; tickets)

Beck, 23, will take on Jenny Liou of Moscow, Idaho, in a 125-pound fight. Newbreast, 28, will battle Butte’s Joey Jaquez in the main event, a heavyweight bout.

Newbreast and Beck got ready for these battles by fighting each other. A lot.

The husband is his wife’s coach, corner man and, usually, her sparring partner.

Beck says fighting against her husband makes the competition seem very small once she gets into the MMA cage. Since Newbreast is about twice Beck’s weight, it is easy to see why.

“That girl ain’t got nothing,” she says while laughing. “They’re light compared to anyone I train with. We have a lot of guys here, and most of them are bigger than me.”

“Here” is a training room in the basement of the Montana Tech HPER Complex. That’s where the fighters from the Streets of Butte MMA team work out.

Does Beck ever get the best of her husband in a sparring session?

“I try,” she says. “He lets me for a while when I get really sad. That’s about it.”

More often than not, though, Newbreast is more interested in making his wife a better fighter than worrying about her feelings.

“He’s good about making me train hard, too, and not just being nice to me because I’m his wife,” she says.

While he was a wrestler at Butte High, Newbreast would much rather do his cage work with his hands while standing up.

“I just get in there and throw fists,” he says. “That’s what the crowd likes to see.”

That’s where training with Beck is a benefit to Newbreast as well. She too likes to do the job with her knuckles. She is also faster than any heavyweight fighter Newbreast will encounter.

“It works both ways,” Newbreast says. “You’ve got to be fast when you fight little people. It helps with that speed and everything. She probably doesn’t hit as hard as a guy I’m going to fight, although she hits pretty hard. But she’s a lot faster. She’s a quick hitter, and it helps me with my speed.”

Newbreast got into fighting by chance. Some of his friends were students of John Amtmann in a judo class at Montana Tech. They were also training with the Streets of Butte.

As a way to get in a good workout, Newbreast decided to tag along. He quickly fell in love with the sport and turned early success as an amateur into a professional career.

Newbreast is now 5-2 as a pro. His last fight, though, came last December in Butte. Newbreast says he has been battling injuries all year.

“It’s hard,” Newbreast says of MMA fighting. “You get injured.”

Between MMA and kickboxing, Beck has five fights under her belt this year. Like her husband, Beck is also coming off an injury. She broke a knuckle during her last fight in September.

The injury is healed now, and Beck takes some pride in the fact that the knuckle was broken on the face of her opponent.

“Yeah, yeah,” she says. “That’s nice.”

Newbreast wrestled heavyweight for Butte high as a junior and senior. He didn’t play football as he got older because he is more of an individual.

“I’m a single-sport kind of guy. I’m not really into team sports,” he says. “I raced BMXs growing up.”

He said wrestling for the Bulldogs is similar to fighting with the Streets of Butte club.

“Wrestling is the best of both. You don’t have to rely on anybody, but you’ve got that team atmosphere and camaraderie,” he says. “It’s the same thing with MMA. We have a team up here. “We help each other get ready, but there’s nothing you can actually do for them once the cage locks and they’re in there.”

The key to fighting well in the ring is lots and lots of fighting, Newbreast says.

“The only way to prepare for a fight is to fight,” he says. “You’ve got to hit people and get hit. You’ve got to put yourself through the worst situation. When you’re in there and you’re tired, your body just reacts.

“Hopefully you don’t end up in a bad situation, but if you do you want to be ready for it.”

Beck got into boxing during her freshman year of college at Montana Western as a way to stay in shape. She tagged along with a friend to train with the Pink Glove boxers.

Her boxing career officially began with her first bout in July 3, 2010 at a smoker at the fairgrounds in Choteau.

“It was actually a pretty big crowd for my first time, and it was an adrenaline rush for sure,” she says.

Beck went 14-6 as an amateur before turning professional. She is undefeated in three pro bouts.

However, she put that boxing career on hold to try some MMA fights, including a win at the last Butte Brawl in April.

“I’m not done yet,” she says of boxing. “I just decided I would check out this MMA for a bit, and we’ll see.”

While in her corner during fights, Newbreast doesn’t have time to worry about his wife’s personal well being as she fights. He is focused on helping her win.

When Newbreast fights, it is a different story.

“I’ve just got to sit in the front row and worry. It’s terrible,” Beck says. “There was one fight I got a little worked up over. It wasn’t very pretty and I lost a lot of hair over that one. I was like ‘Oh my God I can’t watch this.’ Now I’m like ‘Just go punch him in the face.'”

The two fighters are sponsored by Fuel Fitness, and they make a little money when they fight professionally. That, however, is not their motivation because the money isn’t nearly enough to make ends meet.

“We don’t do it for the money, that’s for sure,” Beck says with a laugh.

Newbreast drives a snow plow for the state. He also bartends. Beck works as a waitress and sometimes as a lifeguard and instructor at the Butte Family YMCA.

Throw in the time working out and training, and a 40-hour week seems laughable to both.

“Luckily Fuel is 24/7 so we can go workout whenever,” Beck says.

The biggest motivation for all that hard work is the payday that is fight night. Fighting in Butte is like a Christmas bonus for Beck and Newbreast.

“That Butte crowd is wild,” Newbreast says. “It’s the best in the state by far. We usually take the cages for Fightforce around the state and work them when we’re not fighting. I’ve seen the crowds everywhere.”

Beck finishes her husband’s thought.

“They don’t even compare to Butte,” she says.

Beck and Newbreast say they don’t know how long they’ll be in the fight game.

“Until it’s not fun,” Beck says with a shrug. “I’m going to enjoy it while I can and make the most of every fight.”

Newbreast says he isn’t even looking past Friday’s fight just yet.

“We just take it one fight at a time,” he says. “We don’t think too far ahead.”

In the meantime, the fighting couple will continue training for the foreseeable future. They also plan on working out whatever marital frustrations come up along the way.

“When she gets frustrated with me,” Newbreast says, “she hits a lot harder.”

Beck laughs at the thought of beating on her husband.

“It,” she says, “is like therapy.”

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