Chaffin shines in first MMA bout

Amanda Barney working out at the 8th St Gym.

When Amanda Chaffin headed to Riverton, Wyo., a couple of weeks ago, her only plan was to be in a friend’s corner.

The Central High School junior was traveling with her mother, Val Barney, to be in the corner for Ashley Semandini’s mixed martial arts bout.

Chaffin had never competed in an MMA bout before. Barney, however, is a professional MMA fighter and Chaffin grew up in the gym, mimicking her mother’s every move and learning from the master.

Chaffin now has her first fight under her belt. It was a very successful debut that came about purely by coincidence.

“She kept saying, ‘I want to fight, I want to fight,’ ” Barney said of Chaffin’s constant desire to compete in the octagon.

Chaffin is only 16. Fighters must be 18 in order to compete in sanctioned MMA bouts in Colorado.

“When we showed up at Riverton they asked if we had another fighter who was around 140 (pounds),” Chaffin said.

Chaffin fit the bill. Wyoming has no age restrictions for its MMA fighters.

Barney wasn’t sure. Chaffin’s Wyoming opponent had never competed in a sanctioned MMA bout, but she bragged that she won more than her fair share of street fights, including some against guys.

“I was nervous because she said how good of a street fighter she was,” Chaffin said.

Apparently, Chaffin has a knack for this sport — she knocked out her street-smart opponent in a lightning-fast seven seconds.

Barney had watched her daughter work out and develop the skills to handle herself in the ring. After all, she’s been training in MMA for 11 years.

“I knew if it was a fair fight, Amanda could hold her own,” Barney said.

Still, she wavered about putting her daughter in the ring, but eventually relented.

“My mom always said, ‘When you get in the ring, don’t plan out the fight, ’ ” Chaffin said.

Barney also advised her daughter to make quick work of her opponent. Seven seconds quick enough, Mom?

Barney can handle her pre-fight nervousness when she’s in the ring. With her daughter, it was a different matter.

“I almost threw up,” Barney said. “I’ve never been that nervous before a fight.”

All that tenseness was for naught. Chaffin threw a left high kick, a right leg shot and a right arm cross to start the fight. The last blow broke her opponent’s nose and knocked her out — all in seven seconds.

“I felt better after my first fight was over,” Chaffin said.

Chaffin gained a lot of confidence from her first victory.

“I know I can take a hit,” she said. “It shows (that) no matter how hard someone hits me, I can always get back up.”

The pride was visible on her mother’s face.

“She said, ‘You told me to make it quick, Mom,’ ” Barney said. “I said she hits like a girl ... just like her mom.”


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