Family of fighters: Trio uses mixed martial arts as outlet for aggression

Val Barney, left, Jeff Barney, middle, and Amanda Chaffin, 18, train at 8th Street Gym for this weekend’s Cage Wars X at Two Rivers Convention Center. The family uses mixed martial arts to improve relationships at home.



QUICKREAD

Cage Wars X

A Bush Cree Promotions mixed martial arts event

• Saturday at Two Rivers Convention Center

• Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with fights starting at 7

• General admission tickets are $30 and can be bought in advance from Grand Junction Harley Davidson or the 8th Street Gym. The gym also has reserve seats in advance for $40.



Val Barney figures mixed martial arts has been the key to keeping good relationships within her family.

Whether training at the 8th Street Gym or simply roughhousing on the floor while watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it isn’t uncommon for Barney to get into good-natured scuffles with her husband, Jeff, and her daughter, Amanda Chaffin.

“We’re naturally aggressive people, so it keeps us out of trouble,” Val Barney said of the family sport. “We have a place like this to come down and let out our anger.

“I think it’s good for our relationship because we come down here, beat the crap out of each other, then we go home and get along.”

Saturday, the family’s skills will be on display at Bush Cree Promotions’ Cage Wars X at Two Rivers Convention Center.

The 12-fight card includes Jeff and Val Barney in professional fights and 18-year-old Amanda fighting as an amateur.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m., with fights starting at 7.

General admission tickets are $30 and can be bought in advance from Grand Junction Harley Davidson or the 8th Street Gym. The gym also has reserve seats in advance for $40.

Other local professionals scheduled for bouts Saturday are Jack Quintana, who faces Oliver Parker at 156 pounds; Brandon Crespin, who fights Bruce Ries at 161 pounds; and Logan Hancock, who fights Sidiah Parker at 186 pounds.

“As far as I know, this is the first time that a husband and wife and daughter have all fought on the same event,” Jeff Barney said. “It’s kind of crazy.”

In the main event, Val will be going against Katalina Malungahu, who trains out of the Xtreme Couture MMA Training Center in Las Vegas.

“This is going to be my toughest fight I’ve had for sure,” she said. “I wasn’t really nervous my last few fights but this one has me a little nervous, but I think that’s a good thing.”

Jeff will fight Montrose’s Sergio Lopez at 161 pounds.

It will be the third fight between the two, who split the first two bouts. Most recently, Lopez beat Barney in January by technical knockout in what was going to be Jeff’s last fight.

“After that fight any thought of retirement was over because I had to at least fight him again,” he said. “I started training again, got in 10 times better shape and I just feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.”

He’s hoping to control the tempo of the fight to get the win.

Chaffin, who graduated from Central High School in May and now attends Colorado Mesa University, will fight an amateur bout against Pueblo’s Edwina White at 151 pounds.

It will be Chaffin’s Colorado fighting debut. Her only other fight was in Wyoming in 2009, which she won in seven seconds.

During that fight, Val dealt with the difficulty of being an MMA mom.

“I was such a wreck,” she said. “All the way to the ring I’m going ‘You sure you want to do this? You don’t have to do this.’ ‘’

Neither parent will be in Chaffin’s corner Saturday as way to keep their nerves under control and allow them to prepare for their fights.

“I’m hoping after her fight’s done and she beats her girl, the rest will be cake,” Val said.

Naturally, though, all three are confident in their abilities and more concerned about the others.

“I’m more nervous for their fights than mine because they’re professional and they know what they’re doing,” Amanda said.


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